Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baby XC course

So today was a hack day to counteract all our flat work. It was a beautiful day. We headed out to the cross country field and did a little bit of hill work. Then we walked into the water complex and worked on the in and out over the bank into the water. He did pretty good going down in the water. 
So... since he was so good, and I'm excited about possibly doing the FEH show in August, I decided to just do a teeny little tiny XC course. :) We started off trotting over the ditch and then trotted into and through the water. Then we trotted over a little log and then trotted up the bank. After the bank I let him canter and then we cantered over the little log. Wheee!!! He was a superstar. :) There was no bucking or taking off and being silly. He was great! So then we went on the rest of our trail ride and went to the lake to play.

Horse show readying

We had a good lesson today. We started doing parts of the training level test. He ended up doing all of the movements, just not in order and in a row. It was nice though. He likes the trot serpentines. :)

Such a good pony, putting on his big boy pants! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Best baby ever

I am so lucky! Danny is such a superstar. We went for a ride today and I wanted to go into the jump ring to work on some flat work. We were out there by ourselves and literally as we got into the jump ring a truck on the road backfired! It was super loud. Both Danny and I jumped! Danny did the "fleck spook" in that he jumped, but held his ground. Then he walked forward to investigate. The truck was on the side of the road I guess because we could see something through the trees and hear stuff, but it was too dense to really see it. So Dan was looking and his heart was pounding, but he walked closer to investigate and held his ground. After a few minutes, I asked him to go back to work and he did. :) He wasn't stupid. It was just back to work like nothing had happened.

And it was good work!! He was forward and in front of my leg. And we had some REALLY good upward transitions. :) Yay!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Making progress

Yay! I'm so glad that I'm able to swap lessons for chiro care. Danny and I are making progress. It was a good lesson today. Danny has figured out how to stay in front of my leg without spurs. I have figured out how to not nag him every step. He's getting more consistent and straight. He's getting a bit more self carriage. And we actually made a proper circle!!! He's been so much fun. It's nice to be making some progress too. 
A bit of our lesson

In our lesson we worked on a 15 meter circle at B, then down centerline and leg yield to the rail. I need to make sure that I don't interfere with the leg yield by blocking him with my inside rein, especially when leg yielding right. And I need to remember to look! And then he got it, but I had to keep my leg on and encourage a bit because he looses the impulsion and then it stutters out. So.. they weren't pretty yet, but we did make some progress.

Such fun. :) 

Monday, April 13, 2015


So today was a non-riding day. It was raining a good bit, but I would have ridden. It's supposed to rain for the next 10 days. Sigh. But by the time I finished working I had just enough time to take Fleck and Dan to meet Wayne and get their feet done. I was tempted to ride instead, but they both needed new shoes (or shoes in general DANNY!). ;)

Danny was sooooo ADD today. It was just sillyness. But it made me giggle. And I swear he's grown again....

Danny made a new friend too.....
Danny being pestered

Oh Happy Day!

Today was a GREAT day! Despite the fact that both horses were punks. Yep, you read that right. BOTH horses!!! :) 
I signed up to be a vendor at the Paso Fino Festival but it was such a pretty day... and the paso festival was mostly clinics on Saturday so the riders were all busy... so I skipped out early and decided to ride both boys. 
I rode Fleck first and Dan was fine and just chilled on the trailer without a peep the whole time. Then it was Dan's turn and off we went. I thought he might be sore still, but I guess he's feeling better because he was all for trotting and cantering. Every time we were cantering and hit a fork in the path, he would throw a shoulder and try to make a run for the other path. Turkey! I managed to keep him from veering off each time but it usually involved stopping him and having to turn him back. We headed to the lake to let him play, but he just took a quick sip and wanted to head back. I was planning to go down the trail in the woods so he wouldn't be so tempted to graze. (I was STARVING and wanted dinner sooner rather than later). As we started down I saw Jane and her dog. Dan did too. So we kept going. Then he saw them through the trees and apparently they were scary now. So we chatted briefly and he calmed down and we carried on. I decided to let him have another trot. And he decided he wanted another canter. Fine... it's fun. :) Well, as we were hitting the part where it was about to fork into the XC field I could feel him start to quicken. And then, a squirrel or something bigger crashed in the woods behind him. He used it as an excuse and bolted! I knew it was coming so I hung with him and of course he took the fork to the field. We bolted a good bit and twice I thought I might be wiggled off. I managed to get him back before we were about even with the gate to the trailer parking. Turdball! So I made him walk, then trot past the gate, the canter properly! And he was fine. 

I'm really glad he found his other gear though. He was super forward today! :) :) :)

So yep... turkeys for horses but I couldn't stop smiling.

 But MOOOOMMMMMMM, the grass is so delicious... nom nom, let me nom nom

Tender Tootsie Lesson and Fergy Visit

So... since Dan decided to pull off his shoes, he got some time off. But I still wanted to try to do my lesson. I figured the footing was so good, he would be fine. And he was sound trotting and cantering around at home. Well... he wasn't sound. He was sore. I don't know why, as their footing is sooooo good. But oh well. We went ahead and rode anyways, but just did most of our work at the walk with a teeny bit of trotting. We worked on turn on the forehand, which is hard!! Cindy put the stool in the arena and had me put his shoulder up near it and turn around it. Surprisingly going to the right was harder. He doesn't want to step out with that inside right hind. It was helpful though because Cindy had to ride on the rail similar to what I was doing riding the turn on the forehand. Aha!!

So then we had Mom and the fergies over to visit. Dan was very curious and he sniffed them all and they all petted him. They wanted to ride him too but I told them no! Ha!! That's probably not a good idea yet. :) 

So hopefully Wayne and I can meet up and get his shoes back on soon. He's on vacation this week but should be able to get to him soon. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Too much fun!?

I have been letting the horses in the front yard to graze because...well, after 10 years of living here, I just now realized that the gate to the front field opens into the driveway and abuts the other fence, effectively fencing them in the front yard. So... they get to enjoy it. And then yesterday I let them out in the front field for about an hour and a half since Mike had mowed the front yard. They had fun.

Too much fun.
Dan came in for dinner with blood on his front leg and missing BOTH front shoes! What the heck horse?! You were only out there for an hour and a half. ??? I have no idea... Luckily the cut is very superficial and he appears sound. Sigh... crazy baby horse.


And we have a GALLOP!!!!

This makes me ALL sorts of happy!!! 
 It was such a glorious day that I set out for a nice fun hack. No dressage :) (well, we did a teeny bit of giving to my legs while on the trail, but no official dressage). We headed out and there was a bunch of people playing in the XC field. Danny was so good. He got a little up but behaved himself while we walked through the field and into the woods. Once in the woods we trotted some and came upon a feral cat. It was a tortie so she sort of blended in. And she wasn't moving until we were just about on top of her. Dan was paying more attention to the field so he barely saw her until she jumped. He just skipped one step to the left and then carried on. :) 

We did a little canter up the hill and then down the slight slope. I was giggling at him. I was videoing with my phone so I only had one hand on the reins. And I guess he tripped so he was suddenly cross cantering and then tripped again. He was just so gangly and clutzy it was cute. I couldn't really help him out with only one hand so I decided to just come back down to the walk. With all that going on I didn't notice that Krista and Mary Jo were in the field behind Halfshire. So we all chatted briefly and they carried on their way. Dan and I trotted down the hill and since Krista said they would leave us be so we could get our gallop on... I decided to have a little canter in the field. Well... Danny was feeling good and apparently missing his friends so he tore up that hill!! Wheeee!!! A true gallop! And a little buck or two. ;) I got him stopped at the top of the hill and we turned around and headed back down to the bottom and then I tried the other lead. This time he flew up the hill and I couldn't quite get him stopped until the lane and cowpens. Hee hee. So much fun though!!!! And the boy does have a great gallop when he wants to. :) 

 As a reward I let him trot a bit towards where the others had gone and we caught up quickly. They let me hang with them and Danny settled and was quite polite for the rest of the ride with them. We made a small loop and then they headed back in. We went around and to the creek and then the lake. And then we headed back up home where we passed everyone that had been XC schooling. He kept his cool and hung with the whole pack for a few minutes. 

 We ended up doing 5+ miles and our top speed was 27.6 mph! :) Wheeee!!!!! I so needed that. And I'm glad to know that baby boy does indeed have a gallop. 

There IS a fancy dressage horse in there!

Mostly because *I* rode like a fancy dressage rider today! Okay, fancy might be a stretch. Heck, dressage rider might even be a stretch. ;) But I rode better, therefore he went better :) :)

Cindy said that I had basically answered my own question about the outside rein. She said that I tend to override the left rein so when we track to the left, I tend to have no outside rein. So yes, I don't want to pull him to the rail, but I also can't abandon it. There needs to be a connection. Aha! She also pointed out that I needed to remember that when he doesn't do what I ask, it's appropriate to turn up the volume, but to remember to turn it back down and reward the smallest hint of an answer. So for example, when he is drifting in off the rail and won't get his left ribcage off my inside leg... it is okay to use my whip or thump him with the left leg. BUT... I can't keep thumping and using the whip until he's at the rail. Yes, I want him on the rail, but what I'm missing is that what I REALLY want is him to get off my inside leg. Therefore, as soon as he shifts his ribcage to the outside, I need to stop all my aids and reward. And I can't forget to then ask softly and reward. I do that when I am trying to quicken him up to my leg for the upward transition to the trot, but I get carried away with getting him to the rail. So I'm REALLY glad she reminded me of that. Yay! And obviously, it works. Because now he's already listening to my gentle leg pressure. And sure.. he's not going to the rail immediately, but that's his hard side. Baby steps.

At the trot she had us track down the quarterline and go straight. Ugh... that's hard!! She told me to stop worrying about the shoulders. And every time he drifted right and I corrected the front end, he would overcompensate and then I'd have to correct the other side. If I focused on the back end and rode the butt, creating impulsion for forward, I didn't have to correct the front. Duh, but harder to do well than to think. At least for me. Then we did some leg yielding on the quarter line and halfway through she said "now go straight!"! Ack!!! So much harder to go straight! hee hee. But we definitely need to work on that because our centerlines are awful. It's all about the engine.

Another helpful thing was to ride his withers rather than the direction. I was so worried about turning or getting to a certain spot, that I quit riding the butt. By focusing on keeping his withers between his shoulder blades, I rode him straighter and with more impulsion. Therefore he was much more balanced and it was easier to turn him.

Then we did a super fun exercise that made me giggle. She had us trot (and also canter) a circle at A. Then the second time through we made it a square. Then another circle and then a diamond. It was funny and interesting and a great exercise all at once. I laughed and said that someone watching me ride that didn't know probably just thought we were circling the whole time and just not very well. I'm sure they looked much more like 3 vague circles than a circle, a diamond, and a square. hee hee. But that's okay because it was super helpful. It helped me to ride the outside aids and it helped me focus on riding his withers rather than a direction. He seemed more upright, more "all legs under the table". Whoo hooo.

So a super great ride. He actually really felt like a real dressage horse and not just a spazzy baby octopus. :) Of course, he's probably saying the same thing about me. ;)

ha ha!!! I killed it!!! Teasing... he had just taken a big long sip of water, but my timing was hilarious. 
I let him graze some after since he was so good!