Thursday, July 24, 2014

Doing our ground work

Day 1: So.... as much as I wanted to ride the squirt, I decided to do some ground work. Plus, I was running short on time both days and it was hot as molasses! No... hotter! I was dripping sweat! And exhausted after my dressage lesson with Sandy. So we just did some in hand work. Which turned out to be a good idea because Dan had a big rock in his right front when I picked his feet. And he looked a bit sore on it. So we took it easy but I did work on the things Cindy showed us. It took us awhile to get going, and he was VERY counter bent going to the right. Which, may have been the ouchies playing a factor, but maybe not. So we got some good work done and even got some canters. :) When we got home, I unloaded and Dan hung out at the gate like "that was all? come on... let's play some more"!. hee hee. Goof!

Day 2: Today was another lunge day because I had minimal time. And really, I only had time because the downpour cut Fleck and I's ride short. But it was good. Danny got to work in the rain and I'm pretty sure that was a first for him. We did a short session of lunging and again worked on spiraling out. He was MUCH better at it today. And he was stepping under more with his right hind. So yay! I still saw the occasional ouchy step but it was much more difficult to see. So yay! It'll be interesting to see how day 3 is. :) Hopefully I'll have time to ride him too. Oh wait.... nope, I won't. I've got to take Fleck to Wishing Tree and chiro four horses. Maybe I'll just have to lunge Dan in the am. Of course I also have to go to the grocery store and get gas. Eeeks... I hope I have time to lunge him. Three days in a row is key! :) No pics today as it was pouring and my phone was already rather wet. But no worries.. he's as cute as ever.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fun Day: Playing with Cindy and Trey

Cindy and I planned a baby day today. We rode the big guys first and did some fitness and then got the kiddos out. Cindy wanted to play with Dan on the lunge line to investigate something. She said she wasn't sure if the issue she was having with Trey was Trey specific, baby horse specific, her specific, or just a general issue. So I said sure! Cindy is very talented, so yay for me. 
She got Dan on the lunge line and was making him go forward! He wasn't allowed to be "behind the leg". And forward he went! Apparently, he CAN canter on a small circle. ;) However, he kept cross cantering to the right and when he did his downward transitions, he looked downright lame. :( Cindy said she didn't think he was tracking up with his right hind. And thinking back, he doesn't cross over and under when he does his "crouching tiger" on that side. I try to be diligent, but I'm not always so. She said it's a weakness and I need to work on it. (I also think he's locked in his pelvis and I've been meaning to adjust him). So she said that when I do crouching tiger, I need to walk him forward as he's doing it, so that he learns to go forward and not get stuck. Then she said that she was trying to bend him and he's very stiff to the right. When she lunges him to the left and asks him to leg yield out (ha... just like the spiral in and spiral out I was doing under tack) by pushing him out with the whip, he bends and leg yields out. When she asks him on the right side, he turns his head to the outside, leans in, and can't do it. And it's because he's not stepping forward with that right hind. So she got him moving forward and eventually with some work, she got him bending and stepping forward. Yay! So I'm definitely going to have to do some significant work with him. But I think I can fix it before it becomes too habitual. :) Three days in a row, then some time off, then another three days in a row. Eventually, within 3 weeks, I should have made progress. I can also work on it under tack too, but on the lunge line is even less stress on his body.

So then we tacked up and played in the ring as Trey hasn't ever been in an "offcial" dressage ring. Danny was good and we worked on the usual stuff. Then I did some cantering. Well, Cindy had Trey cantering 20 meter circles and I laughed and told her that Dan and I weren't there yet. She told me that he could do it. I needed to ride the back end and steer the butt! She also suggested that I put my butt in the saddle more to accomplish that. So, sure enough, when I did sit lightly and ride his hind end and shoulders, he was definitely able to do more of the turn than usual. We didn't quite make a full 20 meter circle, which may have been my fault for not keeping my leg on. But we did manage more of the short side than usual. :) And it was easier to steer him when I thought of it that way. But I know I don't want to sit too much at first. 

So then we went to the XC field because Cindy wanted to see what Trey thought of things. Dan and I did some trotting in the open and then even trotted in and out of the water! :) He likes it. We also went up and down the bank in the water twice. He even did the other side too. :) And he also stood pretty calmly while Trey was cantering around and doing things afar. Such a good baby! 

We even finished by trotting over two logs and then walking over two logs. Yay!

So, now he gets three days off while I work and then I'll do his lunging exercises again.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Such a smart Cookie!!!

Oh Dan! You are phenomenal :)

He's seriously going to be a super nice horse! I just hope I'm up to the challenge of helping him be as fancy as he can be. 

We had a lesson today and I took him up to the jump arena while Peri was finishing up. I probably should have done the crouching tiger and backing up before I got on, but I didn't. He was in a mood...picking on Fleck and not letting up. He kept nibbling on him and wasn't backing off. But he was good when I got on and we hacked up to the arena to watch Peri's final two rounds. I even video-ed them. The first one he was good for but was a little fidgety. The second one, Beth held him while I video-ed, so he had to be good. But you can hear him chomping on his bit. So then, Peri and I were walking with our backs to Beth and she dropped a wooden pole on the ground. It made a fairly substantial splat. Well, Dan used that as an excuse and did a shoulder drop, spin, spook move. Which caused Tess to do the same move. They both squirted out a few steps, but then stopped. Hee hee. We were giggling... Silly ponies! So then we started off on the rail and he used the butterfly bushes as an excuse and was doing the spin and spook move with bucks this time. Oh Dan. I managed to ride him through it and made him do some small circles and he settled. :)

So then Beth had me show his trot to her and then she wanted to see me canter. He actually picked up both leads quite nicely, though he also picked up a wrong lead at one point. Beth reminded me that I need to stay off his back in the canter. He's not strong enough for me to sit. I told her it was probably a defensive move as it gets so big in the fields, but that I would try. She did say to be off his back but to keep my shoulders back. And it worked. His canter improved. I also asked him for it about the way I ask Fleck and it seemed to help him get the right lead. We even did a big turn/circle. :) She said for now, to keep his canter in open areas and do big wide sweeping turns. 

 Danny walk, trots and canters

So then we went to work on leg yielding. He was a bit pissy about it today. And honestly, it's hard for me in the open arena because I don't have good landmarks. Once I started aiming at particular things, it was easier. I need to remember that it doesn't matter if he's leading with the haunches or the shoulders as we're only working on sideways right now. I also need to be softer on his face when he starts getting wonky and don't pull back accidentally when I tap him with the whip. But by the end, I was coordinating my aids and he was going sideways quite nicely. :) Yay! Both directions.

Then we worked on the trot in a big 30 meter circle. Beth had me spiral in and then spiral out. The key was to do it slowly and gradually. She also said I could cheat and ask him to spiral in on the part of the circle he wanted to and spiral out on the parts he wanted to. I need to really ride that outside shoulder going left though. He likes to pop that shoulder to the right and go right. Outside rein against his neck and outside leg/whip and just be strong. I need to be careful about not using my inside leg to much. He doesn't quite know inside leg to outside rein yet and is already popping that shoulder out, so I can't confuse him right now by using my inside leg. Especially since I just taught him that inside leg means spiral out! We got some really nice spirals in both directions and at the very end, he got even a bit collected and up in his back. Fancy!!! But I could tell his brain was starting to steam. 

 Danny spirals in and out

So then we worked on straightness and trotted over some poles. Tracking left is hard for him, so I had to work very hard to keep his outside shoulder together and keep him from drifting too far right and then too far left. And I need to ride forward so he stretches over the poles. He was good though. He tripped over them the first time and corrected it the second time, though he then tripped in the dirt. ;) Goofy.

But yep... I'm quite pleased with him. Both Peri and Beth said he's going to be quite fancy! And I think I agree with them. He already feels fairly springy. :) :) 

Such a good kid. And he worked hard. Later he was passed out in the sun snoozing away. Such a tough day for the baby. :) 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He's soooo easy!

Oh Danny... you are awesome!

I love the fact that at 3 years old... you are LOVING work and anxious to get out and go do things. :)

Dan's had 5 days off. I know he was bored because he pulled everything out of my truck and was chewing on my antennae. ;) And when I got him in his halter, he very happily led the way to the trailer and hopped right on. He waited patiently eating his alfalfa until it was his turn. 

I did a quick "Crouching tiger" each way (yielding the hindquarters... my name is more fun) and then made him back up. Then I just hopped on and off we went. We worked in the big arena and did some leg yields, some starting and stopping, and some changing from big trot to little trot and back again. We also worked on square halts (even from the trot, ooops!! I keep forgetting he's a baby). And... now that he's figured out how to canter with me, he keeps wanting to. So... okay! We canter. I actually got some really really nice upward canter departs in the ring. Turning is still tough and we usually break to the trot on the short side, but still. It was a lovely canter. And I got both leads, though I did get the left lead while tracking right once too. But man, that canter... Oh it's lovely!
So then we celebrated with a short hack. On our way to the lake, we stopped in the XC field. He was polite enough to trot some even. Then we went into the water and up out of the bank. We tried to come down and he squirted to the left, but then he came down it twice with only a little hesitation. Then we did up and down the big side and he didn't have to even think about it the second time down. Yay!! Nothing exciting either. He just dropped easily down - not a leaping buck or anything. Yay! Then we walked over the fake ditch twice and then the big (beginner novice) ditch twice. Well, I take that back. Four times because the second time involved some bucking after. ;) Then we walked up the up bank and over a log (again, just a walk, not leaping!) and then we trotted to the water. 

He's funny. Without company, he doesn't seem to want to play in the lake too long. But with company, he does. Goofy boy. So we headed back and did a teeny bit more of cantering and some more trotting. Then we even took the scary way home. He was SUPER BRAVE and went right through the dam without hesitating. He was a little looky, but much braver than before. Yay!

Man... he's going to be SOOOO much fun. :) I'm so lucky to have such awesome horses!

Monday, July 14, 2014

SOOOOOO nice!!

Okay, unfortunately no pictures or videos, but... SQUEALS!!!! This kid is gonna be SOOOO much fun and soooo nice! I really wish I had video, but oh well.

I rode Fleck and then hopped on Dan afterwards. I decided to take him up to the jump ring so that I could try cantering in the ring. Peri came up to watch and took her mare along so they sat on the outside of the ring. Danny was great! He occasionally dropped a shoulder and tried to squirt out but more half-heartedly than anything. We worked on walking and leg yielding and he's definitely getting it. We even tried leg yielding at the trot and he got it some of the time. Then it dawned on me that it's probably hard enough to trot with a rider, much less go sideways. Baby steps Holly.. he's still a baby! We worked on our transitions within the gait too, and he's still very responsive to my seat and core aids. We even trotted some poles! And quite nicely too. We also worked on square halts. 

Peri reminded me that I needed to start asking for what I wanted now. In other words, teach him to halt square now so it becomes a habit. Like Beth said, All the things that bug me with Fleck....don't let Dan learn to do those things. (Ha, like anything Fleck does bugs me.. but I get her point). So, we worked on square halts. 

Then we decided to try a canter. And lo and behold, we got it. It was lovely!! The nice rocking horse canter again - not the XC prelim canter ;)! Yay!! I even got both leads, though I'm not entirely sure how. I was laughing at him because as we were cantering on the right lead (whoo hooo.. that's the hard one), I saw him eyeball the sprinkler as we came up to it. Sure enough, head down and buck! He hee. Goof. At least he's just playing. I hate to squelch that because it's good natured. But once it becomes more than an occasional happy buck, it's time to lay down the law. But so far, just having fun. He carried on and the second time around, he didn't spook at the sprinkler. 

Yay!!! Peri said he's really a nice mover too. Oooooh, I so can't wait to see how he progresses. Hopefully I won't mess him up too bad. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Big Boy Canter

 I took Dan for another hack today, planning on working on some cantering. We had a great ride. He was a good boy and behaved himself quite well, even in the open. We did some walking and trotting and worked on gait changes. Then we even did some work on the leg yields. I really think he gets it! It was much easier in the woods to tell if he was moving over because we'd go from the right side of the path to the left and then back to the right. He really is getting it!!! I didn't even have to do much more than squeeze my leg after a few times. Whoo hooo!
So then we did some cantering. He's getting better about responding to my seat and core and collecting himself, but man... he really likes to go big!! And then because I was trying to figure out how to get him to pick up the right lead (as he much prefers the left apparently), he got even bigger as I was doing more than just clucking him on by squeezing. Doh! It was FUN!!! Man, is he going to have an awesome XC gallop! However... hee..... we're not doing that yet Dan!! So, we managed to collect him mostly. And I did manage to get the right lead canter a couple of times. Purely coincidental I'm sure. We even did a bit of cantering out in the open field. Granted, circling was tough. And twice he flung his shoulder out and went the other way. Doh! Bad baby. But... he did give me two beautiful flying changes. Still... not what I asked for goof!

I let him cool off in the lake and then on our way back, I walked him down the bank. And thus began the antics! ;) He trotted off but then bucked and spun on landing. I managed to get him back and put him back to work. So then we trotted a little log. I was hoping he would just trot over it. And he kind of did. His front end trotted I think, but his back end went WAY high up in the air and of course he landed cantering and then threw in a buck or two. Dufus. So I managed to get him back again and then he was just having fun. He was cavorting and heading back to Fleck. So I made him focus and circle AWAY from the barn at the trot. He was mad but settled down after a tiny bit, so we were able to do some respectable circles and then head back to the barn.

Such a goof....

Lesson #2: Baby leg yields

Dan and I had our second under saddle lesson of the year. He was a good boy and we started to work on leg yields. Baby leg yields... nothing major. He was listening to my seat and aids for the gait changes and then changes within the gait, so we opted to try baby leg yields. Plus, he was leaning in a LOT going to the right. So... we worked on the leg yields. He was sort of getting the hang of it. When it was convenient for him. ;) Ha! Going away from the trailer was MUCH tougher. Goofy! But we managed to do some. So we'll keep working on it. 

I may need to actually get a little spur with him so I don't have to be so obvious with my leg and whip. I was applying gentle pressure and if he didn't move slightly away from my leg (or even think about shifting his rib cage away), then I was to close my leg more and even bang him a little bit. I could also use my whip on his shoulder, gently pushing him over, to help him understand what I was asking. As soon as I got any sort of response, take the leg aid off and praise!

So yep.. another fun ride on him. We'll keep working on it but I think he's getting the hang of it. 

The zoomies...the crazies... the rips...

 Whatever you call em', Dan's got em'. :) He cracks me up... he just goes crackers and runs laps for about 5 minutes. And then he's done. But for those 5 minutes, he's all out! Hee hee... LOVE LOVE LOVE his gallop though!! Cannot wait!

Harbins trail ride

 Mr. Dan and I went trail riding with friends! It was so much fun. We met up with Liz and her 6 year old, Party, and then Cindy and her two horses. A friend rode her old guy and she rode her 3 year old, Trey. We had a great time. We made sure to play musical ponies, so everyone was in the front, in the middle, and in the back. Dan did fine with all of it. He seemed to prefer being in front but wasn't nearly as naughty in the back. Except... when he was in the middle, he did let those hind feet fly and got Trey in the chest. Luckily he just grazed him and Cindy was okay with it. We did the 6 mile loop! Danny was an eager beaver and was jigging most of the way home. Doh! He got a little excited when we were trotting and was cantering most of the time. He also threw in some bucks too. Naughty boy. But he went down to the creek and mostly behaved himself. :)

It was a teensy bit bittersweet as Harbins was where I had ponied Dewey. With Party. And Dewey would have been the same age as Party. But it was lovely because a little black and blue butterfly came and hung out with us briefly. I hadn't seen Dewey in a little bit so it was nice that he came to visit. And in all reality, as God knows what's best, I do feel like Danny was meant to be mine. It sucks that Dewey had to leave me, but I don't think I would have been bale to get Dan otherwise. I miss him, but I think it ended like it was supposed to.
 Oh fun baby!! Danaroo had about 2 weeks off while I was at the beach. I had planned to do some lunging and didn't even have breeches on (I had ridden Fleck to the lake and just bareback so I didn't have breeches for him either). But it was just so hot... so I decided to hop on Dan bareback and let him play in the lake too. Maybe not the smartest decision, but... he was SUPER!!! He danced the tiniest of steps when we first hit the open field but that was it.  
 I did find out that he likes to pick things up. He grabbed my boot after I pulled them off and was flinging it. He even went up to Zhar and smacked him in the head with it. Doh! Bad baby horse. I laughed and said that I should put his antics to good work and teach him to pick my boots up off the mounting block so I don't have to get on and off. I bet I could!!!

 We had a grand old time splashing and playing in the lake. He seemed very happy to be splashing rather than sweating int he ring. ;)

 We even went out for a little bit of a swim!!

(And yes... my helmet was on the entire time except when we were in the lake!... but I promise to wear it in the lake in the future too).

Trail riding before the storm

I took Danny out for a nice hack before the storm hit. He was a good boy!

We even cantered some more although this time he was a bit um.... bolder! ;) Let's just say that he's going to have an AWESOME XC gallop!!

Then I rode Flecky and then took both boys for a dip in the lake.