Friday, January 29, 2016

Ready for Rolex!

Well.. Dan thinks he is. :) 

Seriously... Today I felt like some loudspeaker should have been playing his song - Uptown Funk.... "I'm hot, too hot... look at me now!". Hee hee. He was struttin!

He was REALLY REALLY good today though considering. :) We headed to Beth's for a jump lesson and I wanted to do Dan first because Fleck's respiratory meds needed time to kick in. It was a bit chilly still and windy. As I finished tacking up, Mighty and Atlas took to running and snorting in the pasture. And then the farrier showed up and he was spooky up at the barn apparently. And the other horse up by the farrier truck was carrying on in the pasture just out of sight. So... as I got on, I knew I was in for some antics. He went up in the air a few times and piaffed and passaged. We managed to go down the driveway to the jump field at a fairly controlled piaffe. ;) (Or passage... I don't know which is which.. like renver and traver... one of these days I'll learn it ;) ) . And we even had to go into the field with the other horses and he didn't lose his mind. Good boy! 

Once we got into the jump field he settled down and I warmed him up. I think moving his feet really helped. Then we started jumping. We ended up doing some course work and Beth set them up to beginner novice height. :) He was actually quite awesome. The first 2/3 of the lesson he was great. I was actually able to collect him and rock him back on his haunches. :) The first few fences and course was a bit awful. I was riding him like a baby horse and throwing him away and leaning forward into a fetal position. Beth reminded me that he was almost 5... not a baby anymore and I needed to ride him like a more trained horse and start teaching him good habits. So I did. Well, I tried. And it got better. I need to not abandon him in the deep spots and throw him away. But then I also don't need to not release the reins when he does jump. But I started to get the hang of it. And Dan was jumping better when I rode better. Of course. ;) 

He started to get a little speedier and longer... so I had to sit up and rock him back and keep a firmer connection on the reins. He fought it the first few steps but then he settled into and we had a great ride. He really can collect that long stride. :) We jumped a whole course and stayed at the canter. :) :) :) We jumped a skinny, the barrels with a pole over them, an in and out... and he never batted an eye. Well, he jumped the barrels huge the first time but that might have actually been the first time he's jumped barrels. 

Then he started to get a little too big for his britches. :) I went to pick up the canter and he kept running into it and going up and getting the cross canter and fussing when I tried to settle him. So I kept trying and he got more "Up" so I finally just let him go forward and told him to figure out his legs. And he did. He got a little rushy and strung out and made a bid for the in and out and then couldn't jump nicely. So the next time through I got a bit more convincing with my half halts and we finished quite nicely!! 

He was so proud of himself. And I was so proud of him! My little dingbat is growing up to be quite the nice little event pony! :) :) 


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oh my! X 2

I'm really in awe at how much of a difference the right saddle can make. We tried Danny in Cindy's saddle today. Which is ultimately the same saddle as the used one I tried with the medium tree and wider gullet, but it had shoulder gussets and was a half size smaller in the seat. It also had super straight thigh blocks. And Wow! Danny felt amazing! He really was moving so nicely and forward and even round. :) I couldn't stop grinning. And I liked the smaller seat size, at least on him. It felt more like "home". And I really kind of liked the straight knee block as it helped me get my position better and not creep up on them as much. Although I still did, but not as much. It was pretty cool. :)

So.. I think that I'll end up buying a new one rather than finding a used one because then I can get exactly what I want and it's not that much more expensive. Ugh.... ;) 

So then Thursday... we went for a nice ride and I decided to let Dan out for a gallop. We hacked a good bit and he was being great. It was quiet and no one else was around. I thought... let's do it! Then we'll spend the next two weeks or so before Jumping Branch behaving at a normal speed in the XC field so I don't go bonkers at Jumping Branch. :) So we did. 
I let him out heading towards the lake after the turn by the trailer parking. I figured this way there was no added incentive and surely I could get him stopped before the lake. He was PERFECT! He kicked it up a notch but I'm not entirely sure he went as fast as he could. But it was definitely a gallop! Wheeeeeee!!! Then he came back pretty nicely too. :) It was a good day.

Eeeeks! Baby horse is pretty fast. He's already faster than Fleck, and I really don't think he was going all out yet. :)  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Good Rowdy Baby

First ride in almost two weeks... but he kept it together mostly. :)

Didn't quite get up to the gallop, but we did have a very nice canter down the XC field

Cold Weather Shenanigans

IT was soooo cold! And on my birthday! And I wanted to ride. But... seriously bitter wind. I hopped on Fleck bareback (with his clothes on) for a few. Then I opened up the front right pasture and let them out. Danny had fun. Heck.. even Roany had fun. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Outgrowing the dressage saddle

Doh... Dangit!! Dan has gotten wide enough that he's outgrown Fleck's medium narrow dressage saddle. I put a medium on him today and he was much more willing to lift his back. Duh! Poor guy. He also seemed happier to stay in front of my leg. Of course he was also desperately trying to veer towards the new gray horse. He's obsessed with grays! So it could have been that, but... he definitely needs a different saddle. Sigh....

he was great today though. Much more consistent in the connection in the bridle and much easier to keep in front of my leg. Yay!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cold bitter day

started in dressage arena like a solid citizen

goofy on the trail, and exploded en route to the trail
settled but then a bit goofy

finished in the jump ring, jumped well. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Good Kid

So I noticed in my last two dressage lessons that Dannys' saddle (well, Fleck's saddle really) seemed to be starting to pinch him just a little. I think it's too narrow for him. Cindy confirmed it. ugh.... So now I guess I have to buy Dan his own dressage saddle. Sigh... 

Anyways... point being... today I rode and went for a hack with Peri and George. We were aiming to jump a little at the end, but Peri bailed on me. So we had a nice hack through the woods. Danny was mostly behaved although there were a few little humpy bumpies at the beginning. And then when we crossed the creek, he was so busy playing that Tess got in front. Well that pissed him off because once we started again he spent about 4 minutes almost biting her butt and then when that didn't get him anywhere he started antics underneath me. Lots of head flinging up, bouncing up in the air on all four, and threatening to rear. We let him go back in the front and he settled right down. Dingbat. I'm going to have to work on him being in the back again. Though interestingly enough, he's perfectly fine in the back with Liz. Well... maybe not. Maybe not at first. So...yep, will have to work on that. 

So then we finished our trail ride and Peri didn't want to go jump so I decided to do some flat work. He was brilliant!! I don't know if it was the jump saddle making it easier for him to work or the wonder bit creating a bit of an easier ride for me. Or if he was just being great because. But we had a lovely ride. He was almost even on the bit for the majority of the ride. We did some leg yields and even some more baby shoulder ins. And they were even nicer than Tuesday! We also had some lovely canters and even some canter/trot/canters across the diagonal. :)

Such a nice baby horse.... It will be interesting to see what he thinks about a medium tree dressage saddle. 

Really looking forward to showing this guy soon. :) 


Dressage Super Star

Wow!! Danny was awesome today!! We had a great lesson. He's really getting REALLY Fun!! 

Cindy had me focus more on getting bend my wrapping him around my inside leg. But in order to do that she had me think about bringing my inside elbow back and around. Don't know why I don't do this, but instead I end up crossing his neck or pulling down. But the act of bringing my elbow back somehow puts my body in a great position to ask for inside bend. And it worked well. Danny responded.

We had some pretty decent work at the canter too. And despite having our issues getting the right lead again, we nailed our canter serpentines. :) I just have to focus on that elbow (which ultimately, puts my whole body in a better position somehow). 

Then Cindy had us try shoulder in. Eeeks!! But surpisingly... Danny did a pretty decent job with it. :) He slowed down a lot but considering if was our first real effort, I was pleased. 

So yep.. A great lesson. He's really starting to come together. I'm so glad that Cindy was willing to work with me and him. He's coming along so nicely, especially considering it's been me riding him! 

Love him!