Saturday, January 24, 2015


What a good baby!!! I ended up heading up to the jump ring today to work on poles. Danny was great! He only dropped his shoulder and bolted towards the in gate two or three times. ;) But we had nice trots and canters and leg yields. We also trotted over some singles poles and then the angled arc trot poles. Of course Mr. Smartypants figured out quickly that the arc poles were set for the canter and decided to canter the second and third one. I was able to shrink his trot to get him to go through it once or twice but he cantered it the rest of the times. But that's okay. He was good. We finished with a quick trail ride. :)

And then we had to play around. ;)


That mane needs help ;)

Today was such a pretty day! We couldn't resist. We went for a nice hack and had a good time. We ended up in the lake and Dan had a grand time splashing. However, he also wanted to go for a swim. And while it was a beautiful day... it was still only 60 degrees! A bit too chilly to go swimming. I managed to pull him out halfway up his barrel so my feet got wet but it didn't go over my boots at least. :) Silly boy!
It's COLD Danny... COLD!

dressaging and bridle woes

For Christmas Dan got a new bridle. However, I apparently under-estimated the size of his big giant head! I ordered horse size and that was really too small everywhere but the cheek pieces and sort of the noseband. But Fleck's oversize one seemed too big. Sigh...
However, we had a good dressage ride. We worked on the basic stuff Cindy had us working on. He was good. I need to increase our canter time because that is hard and he gets tired. But he is definitely starting to carry himself better, even tracking right. Yay! Making progress. :)

Dressage and Tractors

That face!!! Who can resist that face?!?
Today we had lesson number 2 at High Point. Danny went last again and it was good because it was less crowded. In fact, we mostly had the ring to ourselves.. minus the big, scary, terrifying, appy eating tractor! I walked him past it a few times and almost lost him once. But I tried to use Cindy's tactics and basically remind him to focus on the work and me. And it worked. He eventually forgot the tractor was so terrifying. We worked on the same things we worked on last week and seemed to be making a bit of progress. Yay!


Dan and I had a fun ride in the woods today. He was a good kid.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dressage Lesson 2

Oh Baby boy is growing up! It's happy and sad at the same time.
Cindy is letting me trade adjustments for lessons, so YAY!!! Back to consistent dressage lessons. I'm so excited. Dan gets to start doing lessons now consistently too. He was pretty good in the trailer waiting his turn, but once I unloaded him you could tell he was a little nervous. He was nudging me some and just acting like a nervous little kid at his first day of school. Awww baby!! It's okay! I got him tacked up and we headed down to the indoor. He's been in there before, but not under saddle. And it's been awhile. He was a bit iffy about it at first but went into the indoor without requiring too much coaxing. I walked him around a minute and let him look at himself in the mirror and then lunged him a bit.

Cindy caught on from the very beginning that he was leaning in on his right front. She also told me to make sure that he was paying attention to me! He shouldn't have to look at everything because then he has to check everything out for himself and make sure it's safe. If he trusts me, he will know it's safe no matter where we are because I've told him it's safe. So he had to pay attention to me. And he had to go forward!!! We did some wandering lunging, which he was pretty good at. And then when we headed up towards where she sits... it got scary. He did not want to go up there and see the big scary monster hole. Aha! Cindy knew it was coming. :) So she had me engage him and get his eye on me. I made him go around the circle but he also had to NOT come in on me. Then she had me lunge him but stop him just before he got to the scary part and then we flexed him. This will translate to when he's under saddle. So if we hit a scary spot under saddle, I can encourage him forward and then flex him to get him to stay with me. This was a bit trickier. He didn't want to stop and face the scary stuff, he wanted to run past it. But we managed to get it and you could see his eye soften and him get more focused on me. Yay!

So then I got on. And there were no antics. We worked on riding him off my inside leg into the "future outside rein" (as we don't quite have the outside rein connection yet but are working towards it). But Cindy had me ride him like I was lunging him. In other words... I couldn't pull him to the rail with my outside rein. Holy crud was that hard. I actually had to grab mane to stop my hand from migrating. But on the lunge line... I don't have an outside rein. So I had to use my inside leg and a little bit of whip pushing him out from the shoulder. And then add some inside flexion. And amazingly (or not... I should know better and know that Cindy is right!) he got it! And he became more correct in his gaits. Then we picked up the trot and did the same thing. Cindy did have me post on the wrong diagonal at first to help me better influence the inside hind leg. Going to the right was harder. He really likes to lean in, so I had to really focus on sitting on my right seat bone and pushing him out with my right leg. We also did some serpentines to X and back. That was really helpful for me to work on yielding him out. And I think he enjoyed it.

Then we cantered. He picked up both leads properly. Yay! He definitely falls in at the canter too. Going to the right I really need to work hard. And I need to be careful because I tend to put my right leg on too far back. So he's already falling in at the shoulder and I'm pushing his butt out, making it worse. So I need to focus on putting my right leg at the girth and then pushing the middle of his ribcage over. And it works! But I have to be careful to not block him with my outside leg. I need to keep him from going outwards, but I need to allow him to move out some too.

And I also need to remember to use my seat aids with him. He responds quite well to them! The downward transitions are all done with just my seat!! It's awesome.

So yep.. super proud of the kid. He manned up. :) I'm looking forward to 2015 with Dannaroo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015: Time to be a real dressage pony

Today was a good day! It was a long cold day, but a good day. I got to Ashland at 11 with both boys to meet Cindy to check saddle fit. Fleck's needing some more wool but were doing well. And the jump one fit Dan well. Then we got to dressage saddles for Dan. Sigh... nothing seemed to be working well. Then on a whim, we put my dressage saddle on him. I thought it would be too narrow for him but Cindy really liked it on him. She said it fit him well enough and we'd just keep an eye on it. YAY for not having to buy a new dressage saddle for him. And Yay that he gets to wear brown too. :) Whoo hooo.

So then I jumped Fleck and Dan hung out in the trailer. Afterwards, I left them both tied to the trailer while I went to watch some of Sarah's lesson. After a bit, I headed back because it was getting so cold! It wasn't too bad riding Fleck but the wind picked up and the temps started dropping and I wasn't working, so it got cold. It was a good thing I headed back because Dan had managed to slip his lead from his halter. He pulled back a few days ago because Fleck was chewing on him and that made him step towards me. I didn't realize Fleck was chewing on him and smacked him forward back into Fleck. We ping ponged back a few times before Danny decided to just back out of the situation. He didn't break the halter but the ring snap ring opened up, so even though I wrenched it shut again, it's loose enough that his lead will slip out. I had forgotten that when I tied them both to the trailer and went with Beth to XC. So it was a good thing I came back when I did because Dan had slipped out and was meandering around, eating grass. He came right to me though. Of course then when I was trying to fix his halter the porta-potty people came and freaked him out. And so I lost him and he went galloping around the parking area. Sigh. He let me catch him easily enough and I put his rope halter on him instead. I tacked him up and decided to lunge him before our lesson. The wind was really whipping and Danny was dancing on the end of the lead rope at first. I honestly was a little worried about getting on him. It was just so windy and really not ideal conditions for a 3.5 year old. :) I lunged him for about 15 to 20 minutes and while he was squirty a few times, he was paying attention and was good. I decided then it was probably fine to get on. So I hopped on and we walked around for about 5 minutes and then Beth was finished with Sarah. She wanted me to come down to the warm up area of the ring so that he was a bit more confined (so he had a 20 meter plus circle rather than a full standard sized arena). As soon as we did that, Dan got to scooting. Every time we hit the one side of the arena, he's drop a shoulder and scoot. Once he almost lost me but that's because we changed directions. So we immediately put him to work on a small circle and within 4 circles he forgot about. Then he was great!!!

We worked on connection and riding him up to the bit. I didn't have a heavy connection but tried to keep a soft feel. I especially had the feel on the outside rein and was sponging the inside rein and working on the connection and inside leg to outside rein. Dan was allowed to wiggle because he was figuring it out. We're changing the rules from black and white to suddenly all sorts of shades of gray. But he was getting the hang of it. As long as he was in general vicinity of "not inverted and not flinging", he got soft quiet hands. If he was inverted or flinging, then I was sponging and gently riding him with my leg into the reins. He was getting the hang of it. At the end we even did smaller circles and he was turning just off my inside leg and outside rein aids. Yay! He showed glimpses of a fancy proper dressage horse. :) whooo hoo.

We quit with that because then Lucy pulled up and I figured I had pushed my luck long enough. Considering the weather (crispy cold and dropping AND gusts of wind), he was a VERY good boy. yay!! And I liked my saddle on him and he seemed quite happy in it. I'll buy the Logic girth from Barbara because that really seemed to help him out. And he got a new bridle for Christmas so... he'll be outfitted well. :)

So proud of the goofball! I love his brain. Sure.. he was a bit sassy, but not naughty and if you work him through it, he settles quite quickly and nicely. :)

Goodbye 2014

 It's the last day of 2014 and we're sending the year out with a trail ride. :) It was a good year. Danny was a pretty good boy and I'm so proud of him and how he's doing. We had two dressage shows and he wasn't too bad. He did an overnight away show and handled that well. In short, he's coming along quite nicely. :)
We went for a fun ride with Peri. I think we rode for about an hour and a half. We just walked. Although I did trot Danny over a little log. He's hilarious! The last time I tried to trot him over a little log he came down to the walk and stepped over it one foot at a time. This time, he jumped it well but as he landed with his front feet, he put his head down to the ground. I guess he wanted to buck?! But he almost face planted. Then he bucked. Hee hee. He's so silly! But after that he was walking politely again with Tess. 
 It was a beautiful day! At the end we went to the XC field and Peri played around a little bit on Tess. Danny was good and wasn't bothered that she was doing her own thing. So we played too. We walked in and out of the water and even went up and down the bank into the water. We even did BOTH banks in and out. :) The one he's never done up before. :) He was a bit balky doing down the bank, but really not bad at all. Then we walked over the ditch. And he walked over it too. Excellent. We also walked up and down the regular bank. Then I decided to trot him up the hill for some hill work. Ha! I sort of expected it. He started fine but then worked into a canter which then turned into some bucking. Goofy! I got him sorted out and we kept going. So yep, it'll be awhile before I'm brave enough to let him canter in the open field. He just has too much fun. And don't get me wrong... I would love to let him open up and go. But I have a feeling his exuberant bucks may get to be too much. It's one thing in the woods in the lanes. We're not quite ready for a free for all. :) But considering he was cantering and bucking some as it was, he came back nicely. We did some trotting out in the open and he was well behaved. :)

Fun day! I wish I could ride him tomorrow too to break in the New Year, but I have to work the two overnights. Oh well. At least I ended it well :)

Merry Christmas!!!

 Merry Christmas Danaroo!! You are so handsome!

 Hee hee.. He's such a goodber! He says "PWEZENTS!!! THERE IS PWESENTS!?!?!"

I had the flu so I didn't get to go visit family or ride. But as I went to take a little nap I peeked out at them and saw this. :) Guess it's nap time for us all.