Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dressage Star

Wheeee!!! Danny is getting really nice! He's such a good sport about things. It's so much fun. 

We had a great lesson today. We worked on the usual stuff and got some really nice trot work. And Cindy said the magic words (of course) that helped my measly little brain figure out stuff. I swear, I really am dressage dumb. But A for effort. :) I always sort of felt like my hips were twisted but no matter how many times Cindy told me to put my right leg back (usually when it was on the outside) I still felt like it was far enough back. But today, she told me that Dan was traveling a little bit haunches out and asked me to ride him the tiniest bit of haunches in. I watched in the mirror and focused on lining his front end up with his back end. And wow!! When I rode with my outside leg slightly back but really closed my inside leg, almost like a half pass, he went straight and beautiful!!! I'm sure that I was inadvertently asking him to go slightly wonky. Or at least not asking him to go straight. Because once I did, he happily went straight. And it was a super nice lovely lofty trot. :) Yay! 

So then we worked on that bouncy feeling in the canter too. And we also worked on the downward transitions. I was screwing them up with him as much as I was with Fleck. Because sure enough, when I focused on being able to instantly go back to trot and thought more of bouncing up into the walk, instead of just stopping, the transitions were so much better. He didn't have to brace because we both stayed balanced. Anyways... at the canter Cindy reminded me to not throw the reins at him. It was time to get him to start to sit and collect that massive stride. Well, not collect, but at least not lenghten. :) So I did. And he behaved and was fine with it. We even did a bit of the canter shallow serpentine and he held it!!! Once he broke to the trot but it was totally me throwing him off balance. When I kept my big toe in him and kept my one seat cantering more forward than the other... he held it. :) We got a super lovely balanced happy canter serpentine. Maybe not quite to the quarter line but close. 

 Wheee!! Love this kid. :) He's gonna be soooo much fun. :) Heck, he IS so much fun. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Naughty boy... and redemption

What a day! I was getting awfully frustrated with life in general and had severely overbooked myself for the day. But I was determined to have a good ride on each boy. So as I'm hauling I noticed that my parking lights weren't working again. ARGH! I got so frustrated that I almost started crying. It was just that stressful of a week.... it pushed me over the edge. So I called a Merhow dealer to ask them if there was any way to prevent rats/squirrels from getting in to the area and the guy mentioned that I should check the plug. He said it was weird that a squirrel would keep chewing the same wire and I should check the plug. Maybe there was a short or something. I told him that he was brilliant and that it made sense since this time I noticed it after I had unhitched and rehitched. And then... it dawned on me. Danny was coming to investigate so instead of finishing hitching, I moved the trailer out of the pasture and finished hitching. But I totally didn't remember plugging in my plug! DOH! I totally left it unplugged. So yes... I didn't have parking lights but I also didn't have breaks!! Of course once I got to silverthorn I plugged it in and my lights worked. So I felt a lot better about my day then. :)

I rode Fleck first and Dan was fine in the trailer. But I guess he got bored. While grooming him he pulled back and broke the hay string and then meandered around for a bit. Then when I went to get water, he untied himself and wandered around again. Sigh. It was also the first slightly chilly day and overcast. I figured that with those factors, and the fact that he hadn't been ridden but once that past week, and we were at Silverthorn where he's only been once before, I would be smart and lunge him a little first. And I'm soooo glad I did.

I walked him up to the arena and as I get to the corner of the small arena, he suddenly reared straight up int he air, toes a flying towards my face, and then lands, turns, and kicks out at me. Oh NO SIR BABY HORSE YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT!!!! I was so pissed! I ended up dropping my stick but still had the reins and the parelli lunge line with the big snap on the end. I backed that baby up so fast and so quick and was wailing away with that big snap on the lunge line. I got him on the neck repeatedly and then used the rope only part on his nose I was so pissed. Then he would look at me all bug eyed and still and I would decide that he was SOOO rude he deserved more beating. (And really... I wasn't beating beating him... but he deserved it. I mean, yes, he didn't touch me, but he came scary close and it was definitely out of the blue and him being an ass instead of scared. He really honestly could have killed me had he gotten me in the head). So I made it abundantly clear that his behavior was NOT acceptable. Once I had him thoroughly mullified I walked him back to the corner and picked up my stick and then we went to the big ring to lunge.

And of course, while lunging him he got loose and went running amuck around the arena. He was doing that super floaty trot where he literally hovers in the air, with his tail flipped straight up. Beautiful but... turdy. After about 7 minutes of him showing off, I finally caught him. And his little butt worked! We did lots of transitions, lots of yielding the hindquarters, and lots of backing. He finally got a soft eye and was starting to pay more attention to me. So I got on.

And he redeemed himself! He was spectacular! Even Kelly said that he finished the day MUCH farther along than she expected. And that she had some big adult horses that didn't even do the exercise as well as him. :) She later sent me a text saying  that he was worth holding onto. :) Yay!

So anyways, I told her that he was still just pretty clueless with the jumping and it was hard for me to not try to help him and I was getting frustrated because he didn't really seem to be learning. So she set up a grid. It was 4 poles on the ground in a one stride between each. Kelly had us trot through it a few times and then we worked on halting on the backside. After a bit, I told her that he tends to fall into his downwards and splat into ickyness. So instead of halting we started cantering on and doing a courtesy circle. Ha! She laughed and said she felt bad having me do them after giving me such static with Fleck. :) So anyways, we made our way through the grid and she kept building it and building it. Eventually we ended up with 4 one strides with crossrails but they were almost at the highest hole on the sides.

In order to make him rock back and use his hiney and not just throw himself over and roll over his shoulder, Kelly had me trot in. As we got 1 or 2 strides out, she had me half halt and just slow the trot down a second or two mph slower. That meant he had to sit and think for a second instead of just barging through. And he had to use his butt. It was awesome. He actually got some really nice jumps and bascules in. And the crossrails made it easier to keep him straight because when he did waver, he ended up really having to use himself to get over the fence. And once or twice he may have rolled over his shoulder or knocked it. BUT... he actually was learning!!! He actually tried to lift up his shoulder and jump clean when we drifted right hard core once. And he did! He really jumped big because we drifted to the high side of the X. It was so nice.

When we were just about done Kelly had me do the line again and come around and jump the vertical planks. We had jumped them before at the show while warming up but Kelly made them fairly high! At least for me and Dan. They may have been beginner novice height but dang did they look big! So we came up to it and I was counting I think but saw that we were getting there on a half stride. I waited and got left way behind because Dan took the flyer. Kelly told me to trust it... of course, not to jump ahead, but to trust it. So we did the grid once more and came around to the planks again. And this time I was definitely counting and I could feel Danny locking on. I saw that we were going to get the distance and he jumped it beautifully! And he wasn't even holding a grudge that I got left behind the last time he jumped it.

Then he was all puffed up and prancy, showing off. He's such a ham. But I'm so proud of him. And me for allowing him to figure it out and make the mistakes and not getting frustrated. Although honestly, it went sooo well, it wasn't hard to not get frustrated. He felt great and proud of himself and had fun. :) :) I told him that I would take him home now instead of leaving him with Caroline. ;)

And my day was salvaged and wonderful... until I had to load up and get back on with my busy hectic crazy day. But at least part of it was wonderful!

Dressage Day. Again

Nothing too exciting today other than the first few minutes before our ride. :)

I walked Dan down to get a walkie talkie. And just as I was about to go get on, they walked a wheeled cart carrying 3 tack trunks on it past. Dan freaked out!! He spun, got super tall, and started backing up. Luckily the aisle had just cleared out and no one was in the way. I got him calmed down and got on and we went in for our lesson.

He started out a bit alert and was looking for excuses to be naughty but didn't find anything interesting enough to bother. Which was rather nice. We got some really nice work too! I can't remember exactly what we worked on but.. it was some good stuff. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lazy Sunday

Today was a bit of a lazy day for riding. But we had fun.

I rode Dan first and we went out for a hack. After a little hack in the woods we went in the XC field and I made him trot up the hill three times. That's hard work! I also attempted to trot through the water without stopping to play. Ha! It didn't work. The first time through he slammed on the breaks and drank and pawed. Sigh. But the second time through he kept going. We even went into the water down the bank and then up out over the bank.
We then had a nice little super short hack in the XC field. He was actually quite fancy and polite. After that we went to the lake and splashed some more and then we found some hills and did a bit more hacking, including some trotting and cantering. 

He was a good pony and we had fun. We ended up in the field and came out near the stadium ring. I wasn't planning on it but they had the white little coop set up, so.. I couldn't resist. I trotted him over it both directions and it was like he learned!! He actually locked onto it and aimed for it, instead of trying to go around it. Yay! We attempted it at the canter and he did good but his striding was way off. Sigh... It's all good. We'll eventually get there. :)


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fancy Pants

Wheeee!!! Danny is getting fancy! :)

We had a great lesson today. Dan is really stepping up his game. He was the most consistent he's been ever in the contact today. I suppose it helps that I finally started having a consistent outside rein connection too. ;) But he got fancy. We worked on some good stuff too. I think Cindy had me run through pieces of First Level Test 3. Egads!! We did leg yield, halt to trot, and even a baby lengthen. :) Of course he wasn't really in a first level frame the whole time. But he was pretty darn nice. We managed to keep our canter leads both ways too and our canter was quite nice.
Wheee!!! He's getting to be so much fun! 

Christine asked if we were doing Felicitas. I told her no, because I couldn't afford it. She said it was too bad, because Felicitas would love him. :) :) Whoo hooo. That's awesome. Maybe I'll have to save up for the next one. 

Fancy pants baby! He was even well behaved today. Although... ha!... at the end of our lesson, Cindy was bragging on him. And as he was waiting for his cookie, Ari rode by and Dan snaked his head at him with pinned ears. Such a punk. 

 But we wuvs each other. :)


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Another Glorious Day!

Today was another gorgeous day!! Oh I could get used to this weather!! 

I rode Fleck first with Liz and Devon and then I took Dan for a ride with Kelli, Kaitlin and Hannah. We went for a nice hack first. Dan was being goofy in the lead so I made him go in the back. That way I could talk to Kelli first. He was actually pretty darn good in the back. No real antics. We let the two kids play in the field behing halfshire so Kelli and I just sat and talked. Dan grazed and didn't mind that they were off trotting. And then he was good when I made him do some trot circles. Then Kaitlin went for a little canter. I wasn't going to but I couldn't resist. So we cantered off to meet her. And Dan was borderline lazy! He didn't take off or bolt and instead just happily cantered up the hill. Then we turned and cantered back. Kaitlin let me stay in the lead and Dan was a bit goofier. He didn't get fast or anything but he kept drifting towards Spice. But we managed to keep it somewhat sane. After that we continued on our hack. At the end, we all trotted up the big hill. Dan was still in the back and he was trotting quite politely behind Arwyn. At one point he cantered but it was still a polite happy canter. No bucks. :) He's turning into quite the gentleman. :) At least today! hee hee.

So then I had to go and Kelli wanted to head back as Arwyn was being a bit feisty. We headed up the the jump arena and Kelli wanted to play just a bit. They were all still set up for Fleck, so.. there was nothing to jump with Dan. But then I saw the stone wall sitting all by itself. I figured, why not?! So I took Dan to it. Considering he's only 4 and really not jumping a ton and it was a skinny with no standards, he actually jumped it better than I thought the first time. The second time he got smarter and wiggled right, then left, then jumped out right. So... it took a few tries but we finally got him going mostly straight over it. And then he knocked it down, so we just jumped it down on it's side. I tried widening my hands and staying back but it wasn't really helping. Kelli suggested I bring my hands closer together. I asked why because it seems like all the professionals suggest the wide hands and creating the tunnel. Kelli said that she thought Dan was smart enough that he would take advantage of that little bit of space and drift. And she was right. He did. But when I closed my hands together and closed my legs a bit more, he went straighter. And he stayed straighter behind too. Cool beans!! 
 She was laughing at me though because at one point when I made him jump it he did his horrible leap frog thing. I don't know what he does but it's almost like as he jumps, he really bucks up super high behind. He launches me over his head just about. I'm always afraid that I'm going to land on his head, yet somehow I manage to come back down in the saddle. I was impressed I didn't come off. Kelli was cracking up. Goof! I'm glad somebody else saw it though. 

So overall he was a really good kid. :) And it was a fun day!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lovely Day

Today was such a beautiful day!! I slept in and then took both boys to Ashland. The weather is glorious!!! I rode Fleck first and we did our fitness. Then as we headed back in, we met Judy on Cash. She said that Dan and I should join her and Andi in the field. So after I got Fleck hosed and iced and back on the trailer, Dan and I headed out to the field. 
(Dan says... "Moooooommmmm, don't forget about me!"

He was a bit naughty but it was good for us. We hacked in the field while Judy and Cash and Andi and Phoebe were working. And Clay was running the tractor too. Dan started okay but within a few minutes he was up to antics. At one point he reared up and twisted a little. It was enough to scare me that he might go down so I got pissed and made him work. We did 20 meter canter circle figure 8's with simple lead changes. That got his brain thinking. Then we did some trot work up the hill. Ha!! Guess it's time to do some fitness with Dan because after about the fourth trot up the hill he decided it was work and he was ready to behave. :) But really, not too bad. 

So then Andi was hopping over some fences so I decided to pop Dan over the two little logs. He was hilarious! He jumped them quite nicely and then about face planted three strides after landing. Clutzy! So then Andi offered to video so we hopped over a few more times. He's gonna be sooooo much fun when I get full control and he gets it. :) :) 
Then we went for a nice long hack and he was well behaved. Yay! Tomorrow I plan to ride both boys again and it's supposed to be glorious again!!! I Love Fall.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015


 Interesting day today! I took both boys to Ashland. I rode Fleck first and just as I was getting ready to leave with Fleck, the sprinklers in the arenas came on. Dan spooked and was sort of freaking out in the trailer. I actually was a little bit worried leaving him but he settled down so Fleck and I went and rode. Dan was fine when we got back and was actually good on his ride. Nothing exciting. We just hacked. 

But then when we got back home and I turned him loose, he went bucking and careening around. He was acting all spooky and weird. ???

Who knows!? I'm just glad that he wasn't horrible when I was riding. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our first stadium rounds!

Danny's first stadium show. :) 
It went about how I figured it would starting out. He has not been ridden since Tuesday because of work so I figured he'd be a little up. And he was. We warmed up in the pasture parking area rather than going up to join the crowd. It was a wise move. He was animated enough in the field by himself but settled down. 
So I headed up to join the crowd. They had the little ring for our class and were letting us warm up in the big ring. Well.. Dan got all animated again and went to showing off his bounce. And his antics. There was this cute little black pony that sent a little sand flying onto the liverpool tarp as we were nearby. And the noise sent Dan to scooting. And then he was scared of the pony. And then we did lots of dancing and prancing. But I finally was able to get him going forward instead of just up. And then he reared up and twisted, almost landing on the fence. Goob. After that though he settled down just fine and we were able to get some work done and even jump some jumps. He jumped the first haybale jump like a very huge scary jump and almost crowhopped over it. I almost came off. Doh. But then he was fine. He even jumped the liverpool without even worrying at all. :) Good baby. 
We did our first round and he was hilarious! He hit the rail on the first one because he was so busy looking at all the railbirds. Then we settled down for a little bit and were able to get over the next few. Then the second to last line, he was zigging and zagging and looking at the judges stand and so we had a stop. But he jumped it at our second attempt and finished the round happily. I was frustrated with myself because I kept catching him in the face. He's just hard to go with because he's not consistent yet. But I can't keep catching him in the face regardless. 
First Round 

Our second round was MUCH better. We both learned. :) He was still looking around the arena but focused better and we didn't have any rails or stops. We still trotted in but were able to canter out the lines. And I was much better about staying with him and not catching him in the face. Yay! 
Round Two 

After Beth said that I needed to have a bit more connection with him. He needed a bit more help. She also said that I was tipping forward and perching. So she suggested that I lengthen my reins and ride from my hips. This way I could keep my elbows at my side, keep a connection a little firmer, but widen my hands to help funnel him. Then I was less likely to tip forward over the fences too and I would follow his mouth to release. So we practiced some in the arena. He was actually pretty good once we figured it out and we even did a skinny and then the skinny to the liverpool on a short bent line and then the liverpool to the skinny on the same line. :) 

Yay!! We ended up 5th and 5th. Out of 5 each time. But that's okay. I wasn't going for speed or ribbons. I was just going for training. :) And I think we accomplished that. :) Good baby horse!

My FEI appy. ;)

So... another fun lesson with Cindy. Danny worked HARD today. We had some decent work at the trot and then we went on to the canter. There was more swapping and antics, but we kept at it and he eventually held it. But it took a much firmer contact on the outside shoulder. I had to collect the outside. And keep a good hold on the outside rein. :) But man... we got some LOVELY canter work out of him today. :) Super fancy. Cindy mentioned something about taking THAT canter to the FEI. And some poor little girl sitting next to her watching was like "You're gonna take an App to FEI?" all incredulous like. ;) hee hee. Then she backpedaled and was like... "I mean, awesome!! Love it!". ha! Pretty sure that Dan and I will not be going FEI. Not with me anyways. 

Though Kelli mentioned that maybe it would benefit us both to have someone else hop on Dan for a few rides and for me to sit on a "schoolmaster" for a few rides. Maybe then I could get a better feel and realize how much my leg is moving. So.... I'm still stubborn and not sure, but... she's probably right.