Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trucking along

Today was dressage day again. Cindy was nice and didn't make me use the "e-cube" with Dan but she did keep reminding me of it. Today was an odd day with Dan. He was quite good but I was having troubles. Our right lead canter was a disaster again. And he kept breaking, even in the left lead too. (OOOOHHHHH, that's why she was yelling at me for my right leg. It was Dan that it kept creeping forward on. Well, on Fleck too, but Dan tattled on me!. Aha!). But we did have some good work too. It was hard but I tried to ride with my arms in the better position. And I got it some. But when it starting going south, I reverted. 

We did get a very nice forward trot. Cindy said now that we have forward we need to work on upwards and more action in the knees. So I basically just thought about riding him more energetically up, sitting a bit more upright and lifting a bit with my crotch and chest, and she said "YES, like that!"!. :) So yay. We had some nice downwards too. Then we worked on the canter. Ugh. It was rough, but we got some lovely work. We tried a shallow serpentine to the right and he broke. Then we tried it to the left and he kept it and it was LOVELY, right up until he spooked in the corner. Twit! He was spooking at a leaf blower I think, but supposedly it had been there all along. I didn't notice it earlier though. But yep, it was lovely until then. I was focusing very hard on riding that left lead canter with my seat and body. But I was also riding him a bit more connected and upwards so I think that helped too. I was hoping to try to the right again but we quit with the left. Which was probably good as I would have blown the right again and that wasn't fair to Dan. 

So we'll keep playing with that right lead canter and my departure aids and maintaining aids. And I will keep my outside leg from clamping on too tight, as well as my outside rein from restricting, but will also keep my outside leg from getting too far forward on the right side. 

I'm super excited about the clinic in two weeks! I can't wait! I told Cindy I promised that Dan would be clean. Because he was soooo filthy! But he's sweaty and when I brush him all I'm doing is smearing the dirt around. Seriously, he is sooo gross. She laughed and said "you hope anyways"! Doh. Maybe I should have paid for a stall, so he would stay clean.

I'm sort of dreading having to braid and wrap and be all nice and clean. We're both such pigpens. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Growing Up so Fast!

Dan was soooo good today! It's awesome that he's growing up and learning but sad at the same time. I miss my widdle baby. But he's a whole heck of a lot of fun. :) 

 He hung out in the trailer for a good 2.5 hrs while I rode Fleck. Oops! Luckily he had a big bag full of timothy/alfalfa, a bucket of water and was in the shade with a lovely breeze. He didn't complain once either. I let him graze while I brushed him and then tacked him up and off we went. 

We hacked around the little lake and then headed to the XC field. I wanted to work on w/t/c in the field. Although it's not necessarily the open spaces that sets him off. I think it's the excitement of others in the field. But... baby steps. ;) And I was the only one there so I didn't have a choice. So we walked and trotted and cantered. He was lovely. He was a little resistant to bend right but once I bent myself right (yep... I MUST remember that I need to bend myself too!) he was better. Then we got both leads multiple times and they were much more uphill. I was focusing on lifting my hips. So then we worked on the walk to canter transitions. It wasn't pretty, but we're getting better. :) And his canters were quite lovely! Still very big, but uphill and lovely. :) Wheee. We did some more trotting and one more canter transition in each direction. Then we headed to the lake for some splash time.

Dan splashed briefly and headed out, so off we went. I was getting hungry so I headed back home. We ended up in the XC field again by the ditches so I walked him past the trakehner. He eyeballed it a bit. I can't blame him. ;) So then I walked him over the novice ditch. Then I thought I might try the training ditch. He walked right up to it and "Whoa!" and stopped. Hee hee. But after investigating it for about 3 seconds, grabbing a bite to eat, he plopped over it. He didn't walk into it, which was probably good, but just hopped over it. He didn't even land in a trot. So then I turned him around and we trotted over it. Easy peasy, like it was no big deal. Yay! So then I turned him back to it and trotted it and then we cantered over the log. Wheeee!! That's technically training level, though it is Ashland, so probably more novice. But still! And what's even better is that he landed politely in a canter and we cantered ever so politely up the hill a bit. I asked for a trot and he came back down and we trotted politely up the hill. :) 

If I could just horse show by ourselves... without all the other competitors, we'd be golden. Ha! We'll get there.

Such a good boy. I let him graze after our ride too. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

No Shenanigan Lesson

Hmmm.... perhaps he's not concocting evil plans sitting in the trailer waiting his turn. :)
I rode Fleck first today and left Dan to scheme in the trailer. But he was good!! Granted I took him for a quick little trot around the pastures before we went into the arena. But there were NO shenanigans. :)

He was great. We worked on my position a good bit and keeping my elbows at my side. But he was quite happy to be in the connection. Cindy reminded me that his poll was where it should be. Instead of pulling his head down when he felt inverted, I needed to ride him into the connection but upwards!!! So soft crotch and think up with my hands. I'm not sure how I accomplished this but I did. I was thinking "up" with my hands, my crotch, and... everything. I guess it worked. ;)

Then we did some more of focusing on my shoulders. We finished with working on the canter from the walk. Eeks! It was hard. I couldn't get it because he was sluggish and trotted or picked up the wrong lead or both. Cindy had me do a turn on the forehand, hindquarters turning out, which caused him to lift and step into the outside hind and then push off the outside hind, thus getting the proper lead. I kept trying but it was hard. She said I was pushing them down, which is why I was having trouble with the leads lately. And I guess I am. But I couldn't coordinate how to lift while also closing my leg. So we tried. And tried again. And again. And again. And finally! I got it. I lifted with my inside seat bone and closed my whole leg and it was like I had suction cupped Dan to my leg. He lifted with me and essentially was lifted into the right lead canter. It was glorious! And it was such a lovely canter too! It was uphill and a normal stride length instead of long. He went UP into the canter rather than forward into the canter. Yahooo!

So now I just have to remember that and keep asking for the canters that way. :)

Oh, AND.... when I turned him and Fleck out there was no water bucket shenanigans this time. :) But look at that face.. .it screams "I'm just being silly... let's play"! :) 

Fancy Pants

Dan was such a good boy today! We only rode for 30 minutes but he was super. We just did some dressage and worked on the basics. But he had quite a nice connection and even got both canter leads on the first try. Of course then I messed him up afterwards, but we eventually got it. He was twisting his head a little bit in the canter but I figured out that if I just ride him in the center (which at the moment means sitting slightly to the outside of him), he stops twisting his head. Yay! We had some lovely canter work and then some more lovely trot work. Even Kelli gave out an "oooh, ahhhhh" for some of it. :)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Splash Party

Dan has gotten a few days off because of work and Fleck and the heat. But I wanted to ride both Saturday. Mike and I had a fun date day/night planned so I wasn't sure I'd have time. But I threw Dan in the trailer anyways. I figured worst case scenario, he could stand on the trailer in the shade eating hay. And besides, he is in trouble! Not for dumping me. That was just sillyness and my inability to stick the antics. But yesterday during dinner I was flyspraying him and he kicked me. He's NEVER done that before. NEVER! So I threw the flyspray at him and chased him around with the broken broom. He ran into the round pen so I shut the gate and made him work! But... I was able to work him without a halter or lead or stick. Granted I did still have the broom in my hand. But I got him working for about 5 minutes and then I barely dropped my shoulder and he turned in and stopped and looked at me. He could tell I was pissed! So, after three really good "crouching tigers", I let him stop. And then I chased him off his hay a few times because he made dirty faces at me. Then he was like "okay... I love you.... please take my hay and I'll keep smiling at you"! Yep... yep you will, you little turd! I still don't know exactly what happened because I was on the phone with my mom and had just hung up. I know I sprayed one side and was going to the other when he got me. But I have no idea if it was directed at me or more of a spook. He barely got me. But still not allowed!

So anyways, if he had to sit in the trailer for a few hours I was okay with that. It was early enough and not too horribly hot. So I rode Fleck while he stood there. We finished in the lake and Fleck splashed and hung out a bit. Gail was with me on her horse and they actually went swimming. So I decided I had just enough time to swap out horses and ride Dan bareback down to the lake for a swim. I was really hoping that between the antics at Cedar Ridge and the kick, he wasn't going to dump me since I was bareback. Especially because there was SOOOOOO many people at Ashland this morning. ;) But he was good. A bit dancy but not bad. We were joined with Andi and Barb and Phoebe and Gail and Be, so we walked down there. 
 Danny swims! (In the background)
Almost a swim 
It was SOOOO much fun. Dan played and played and actually took me for a real swim. It was hilarious. He got super deep with only his nose out and I was like.... "okay.. do something instead of just standing there!" So then he porpoised out. It was slippery! But so much fun. Then he played some more and we went for one more little baby swim. He swam and it was for real swimming but only for a teeny little circle. Wheeee! Then it was time to head back and get ready for date night! Fernbank and oysters at the Optimist!!! Yay! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My First Fall

I knew it was coming! And I jinxed myself because my facebook post was "for those of you worried about me falling off Dan, Don't be! But do worry about me standing on the truck washing the trailer. Managed to fall off the truck and hurt myself". So yep... It was doomed to happen. At least it was a good fall. 

We had decided to head to Cedar Ridge since it was the closing date for NEH/FEH. I was thinking I would decide based on Full Gallop and then Cedar Ridge's schoolings and see. But I had already decided he wasn't ready before cedar ridge but we had plans and it was going to be fun. Besides, he is getting some time off from jumping and it's fun so I figured why not do one more schooling before we put it to the side for the rest of the summer. ;) Peri picked us up and hauled us there and Tess was in raging heat. She LOVES her Dan. So he was thinking he was hot stuff already. We got there and he kept trying to load himself back on the trailer because he was bored. He was so bouncy when I went to get on that I decided it was best to do some in hand work. He was even bouncier so then we all decided it was best if I lunge him. So I did. And he was wild. He let out a few big bucks and kicks. But after a little bit he settled and yielded his hindquarters quite nicely with only the littlest motion from me 3 times in a row. So I decided it was safe to hop on. I got on and we hacked to the field. He was bouncy then too. He's better if he's in front, but he was still very hyper. When we go tto the field I asked if we could all just hack around the edge first so that he could take a few more breaths. And he did. He was pretty good. 

Liz and I sat and watched Devon warm up and she jumped a few things. Then Peri went off to warm up and Liz and Devon were talking so I took Dan up to the top corner to work. He kept throwing his shoulder out and breaking into the canter and throwing in some crowhops. So I worked him through it. And then it happened. He leapt sideways and got me slightly off to the side. Then I saw it coming. Devon was coming down the skinny to the water drop combo and Dan unseated me to the side slightly just as she jumped the log. He didn't settle and as Devon splashed into the water, Dan let out a big buck. I was already unseated so I just couldn't save it. I went flying off and landed... pretty much in a belly flop. It was rather humorous. It didn't even really hurt. I got up after cursing him briefly and watched him gallop madly back to the group. Poor Peri thought he was coming right for her, because he was, and waved him off with her crop. So he let out a big fart/buck and squirted off. He ran amuck around them for a minute and then headed into the water. Devon managed to catch him for me and I got back on. And made him WORK! And he was good. He was still distracted but I was able to work him through it. Then Devon wanted to do a whole course so they called me back to the group. 


He's quite happy to stand and watch while others go play, but his brain can't quite handle working himself while others are playing. So we sat and watched Devon go and he was fine. Then we took turns playing and I even took him out while others were jumping and made him work some too. He was fine for the most part. It's just that first 15 minutes or so that really just takes time to get his brain. It's not nasty... just playful and distracted. But overall it was a great day. There wasn't much out there for the babies. The smallest was BN. But... we managed to go up and down all three banks. Although down the big one from a trot turned into a party!! I felt it coming. We were trotting politely and then the last step turned into a launch and off the bank we flew, landing with his head down in a big buck. I rode him up and made him canter up the hill and then work his hiney in small circles at the canter til he settled. "ooops... sorry mommy... but that was so much fun!". So then we politely walked down them twice and then very politely trotted off them. He's smart and fun though because he typically just drops off them instead of launching. We did the ditch too. He looked at it for a split second and then went. And he did the water happily too. He even dropped off the big BN bank into the water with only a seconds hesitation the first time and none the second time. We even trotted down it once. Without a giant leap too. :) 

I wanted to jump a little bit so we started with the BN coop in the line of three. I kept it fairly simple. We did the walk to it but trot the last few steps and he was very polite and happy over it. He landed cantering politely and I was able to pull him up easily. There was no grabbing the reins and pulling his head down and no bucking. Yay! So then we did it both ways. Then I decided to be brave and take him over the scoopy thing. It's pretty small but it's upright and solid and scooped. Dan walked/trotted right up to it and over and then landed in such a polite canter that we kept cantering on over the coop and he also jumped that quite politely and landed politely in a nice canter. :) :) I was even able to half halt a bit and set him back a hair so that he got to a nice distance to it. Yay!! We then watched them a bit and played over the ditches. I ended up taking him over the half coffin! It was a skinny coop too. Very skinny. We walked over the ditch and then walked/trotted over the skinny. Peri said he squirted out and around it, but I didn't think it was that bad. She said we would have missed the flags. So maybe, but it wasn't like he was trying to get out of it, more that he was just confused. We did it another time or two and even trotted the ditch and cantered over the skinny. Yay! I let him canter up the hill bold and then the girls made me trot him up the hill. He was fine. He was over his "brain freezes" so he trotted quite politely up the hill. But they were right, I didn't need to make it a habit of cantering up the hill. 

I wanted to finish over the log that we hadn't jumped yet. It was BN height maybe and painted solid black. It was raised ever so slightly off the ground. But Dan trotted over to it and then walked/trotted it super politely so we went ahead and cantered over the coop again. Yay!! He was SUPER good. So then we went to the water complex and had a good splash and headed back home.

So yep. I really think he's going to be a total blast once we get it figured out. For now, he just needs more time to grow and figure it out. I think the walking up to it and letting him trot at the last few strides works best for us now. It doesn't give him time to build and for whatever reason, he doesn't build on the back side. Maybe it's because it gives him time to read it? I don't know. But it's working. :) And he's going to take me to the fences once we get it and I can let him be a bit bolder. But first he's got to learn the footwork. He's so gung ho and cavalier about it but he needs to learn where his feet are. 

Super pleased with him!! Despite him dumping me. ;) And somehow my ankle is sore and swollen. I don't know if the stirrup clonked it or when I landed, I landed on a rock or something? But it took awhile to show up. 


 Doesn't Dan look HUGE compared to Fleck? Ha ha.. It's the angle. Although he is getting big!

We had our dressage leson today and Dan was great. I rode him first again because I was a bit late and wanted a bit more time to warm Fleck up. It works well for Dan. Again he was a superstar with no antics. (Those came after! Stay tuned). We got a nice right lead canter most of the time and worked on keeping my elbows to myself. Dan actually had a connection for a fair amount of the ride today. He's growing up! I worked on keeping my body in the middle of his body, rather than letting his body shoot out to the side. It was good stuff. We also did some geometry work for me. Cindy wanted me to do a 20 meter circle with an even amount of strides in each quadrant. Oops. Our first quadrant kept getting more. I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Cindy had to tell me that he wasn't starting his turn and was drifting down the rail instead. So I rode the "diamond" again and it helped. We got 7.5, 7, 7, and 6.5. :) Close enough.

Afterwards, I turned him and Fleck out in the paddock while I adjusted the lesson ponies. Its' just too hot to make them stand in the trailer. Apparently it's too hot in the pasture too. When I came back, I saw Dan had emptied and drug the muck bucket water trough out into the middle of the pasture and was flinging it and jumping around it. Sigh... So embarassing! I'm not sure if it was him or it was already like that but both of the rope handles were chewed to shreds too. Doh! I rinsed it and put it back and filled it up and grabbed the boys and ran. He's soooo..... busy!  :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hacking Day

So... I don't remember exactly when these were taken, but it was before our Full Gallop trip for sure. But they were too cute to not post, so... cute pics of Dan!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

XC Jumping

Today was a fun day. Peri and I hauled to Full Gallop to meet Danielle, Liz, and Devon to play on the XC course. I had to wake Dan up at 4:30 am and load him up at 5 am. We got to Full Gallop at 8:30 and were on by 9. It was hot, but not miserable. The high was 100 but there was a decent breeze. Dan was already sweaty from just the trailer ride. And so filthy! He was fine for tacking up but once I pulled him away from the trailer I could tell he was "game on". I did a bit of in hand work but he was still pretty animated. We all headed to the warm up field and Dan and I were last. Everyone got on and walked off but Dan stool pretty well at the mounting block. Once he walked off though, it was ... typical Danomite! Hee hee. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't good either. Very sproingy and bouncy. He managed to only do a few antics and nothing too major. I put him to work and we were doing okay. Then Danielle did a little hand gallop and suddenly Danny was passaging and piaffing. Hee hee. The boy is bouncy. We managed and then we got to canter some. I think he enjoyed being able to get out some energy. We took about 10 minutes and he was at least breathing and cooperating mostly. Everyone was ready so we headed out.

He was really good in the big field. We were able to stand and behave ourselves while some of them went off and jumped and we were able to go off and jump ourselves without any temper tantrums. We started over some tadpole stuff and he... wasn't great. He was super distracted and looking at the other bigger fences next to our fence. So we were wobbly. And the first few times we were...spazzy. :) Liz suggested that we walk it again. Smart!! So we did that. And I squeezed and he leapt. So then Peri reminded me that the walk was alternating leg squeezes. Yep... that worked better. 

 So then I got a little frustrated because he was very ADD and didn't seem to be figuring out the distances and was just taking off from wherever he got. Liz reminded me that he was 4 and just learning to jump. But I was frustrated because it didn't seem like I was helping him. So again, she reminded me that sometimes... you just have to let him figure it out on his own and give him time. So we walked it again and he actually started to get the hang of it. So then we came around and came back to the walk but I let him pick up the trot a few strides out and he jumped it fairly nice. So... maybe he was getting the hang of it. Money in the bank!

We went to the ditch and he was a little surprised that it didn't look like HIS ditch. So he looked, grazed, looked, and finally walked over it. We walked over it a few times and then I trotted. Dan.... he's such a goof. He went from la la la.. to YAY WE'RE JUMPING and launched it. Sigh. So back to the walk we went. And he walked it politely. Then we walked it again and he picked up a polite trot and trotted politely over. Smart boy. We did a few other jumps and he actually seemed to be figuring it out a little better. But I decided that it was much better for both of us to walk him up to them and let him pick up a trot or canter the last few strides. It gave him time to process and he wasn't quite as boisterous on the landing. 

We went to the bank and he went right up and right down it no problem. We even did the beginner novice one. Then I decided to trot him up it. And in his defense, everyone else had started up the hill. Of course a few strides into it he broke into an exuberant canter and leapt up it. I managed to wrangle him back down. ;) And then we politely walked it and broke into a small trot just before. He just can't help himself. 

We finished up at the water jump and Dan walked up the bank and then right back down the bank! INTO THE WATER!! :) Whooo hoo. Granted it was just puddley water, but still. I'm so proud of him. We did it about 8 times. Then we finished up with walking and breaking into the trot a few strides out from a BN coop. We trotted over it, landed in a canter and then cantered through the water. 

Good baby boy!! 

I decided that it's probably best to not rush him and let him figure it out in his own time so we won't do Cedar Ridge. He will do better to keep walking fences until he figures out his feet. But no rush. We've got plenty of time. 

And then, poor guy, we had to adjust Rusty for Danielle, so he had to hang out at the trailer. He was happy and had his head stuck in his hay bag. Then we hauled to Kathryn's farm and adjusted her horse. She let us put Tess and Dan in stalls. And oh my!! Dan is just a goofball! He's so ADD. You would think that he would be tired after a full morning of XC schooling and hauling. But nope... he was pulling blankets off the rack outside of the stall, flinging the feed tub around, trying to tip the water buckets, chewing on the wood and doors, harassing the horse next to him, etc. Wow... he was non-stop. :) Such a goofy boy. 

So then we headed home and he was all proud of himself. And Roany ran him down and Fleck was pouting and wouldn't talk to either of us. Doh... Poor guy. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


So....somebody put on their fancy pants this morning!!

I told Cindy that I was riding Dan first so that he didn't have an hour sitting bored in the trail scheming of fun things to do when we rode. ;) hee hee. I was really kidding, as the main reason was so that Fleck and I could go for a hack after and find some trails. But I think it worked!

Dan came out ready to work. There was no snorty squealing baby tantrums today. He was a star! We were able to work on our connection and keeping that left shoulder in line and he was even over his back some today. :) :) YAY!!!

I'm trying to remember the key points, but...
  • the right lead canter is all about the right bend. He has to yield that ribcage and contract the right side of his body. In order to do that I have to actually give a little on the outside rein so that he has room to go into it. I can block slightly with my outside leg back slightly, but I can't clamp it on and prevent him from going there. 
  • Remember to post quickly up from the saddle. Forward in a fairly quick tempo, but with long strides. He tends to suck me into the saddle too long.
  • It's ALL about seat aids! The right leg should tell him to bend around it and soften that rib cage. My leg shouldn't move from the right place when I ask for bend, ask for the canter, or ask for a leg yield. But he should be able to discern the difference based on my seat aids and my body position. And.. it works! :) 
So yep. It was a great lesson. Danny really stepped up his game today. Cindy said he started his ride as good as he finished last time. He's making it hard to take it slow with him! Even Zanne was impressed and was saying how he looked like a whole different horse than last time and how grown up he was looking. "He had steering!". hee hee.

Yay. Good day. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dressage and a hack

Dan was super good for his dressage ride so we went for a little hack after as a reward. He was really good about his right lead canter and was even good about being connected :) Yay! It was a fairly short ride because he was so good. We had some lovely leg yields too.