Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Manning up!

Poor Danaroo! He went from 3 rides in 3 weeks, to 3 lessons in 1 week. But he's thriving on it. :) Even without the double dose red cell. ;) ha!

I was hoping to take him for a nice enjoyable hack over the weekend to let him have a chill ride, but I ended up studying, doing barn stuff, and then going to the lake with Mike. (Ahhh... to be a real person again doing stuff, not just working!) So instead of a chill ride, he just got two days off. Today was our lesson with Cindy and now I'm back in Kansas for acupuncture school round 3. So he gets another 5 days off, but then back to work.

Anyways, clearly he is feeling fit and good. He walked to the arena on the buckle like a good kid and was even pretty chill in the arena at first. Then they started lunging this cute little appy pony and then Portia left the arena. So Dan had to be rowdy. We started with some little bucks and scoots and shoulder drops and crow hops. It wasn't too bad but he was catty today and twice almost unseated me. hee heee. But then he settled and was brilliant. I LOVE sassy Dan. :) We got some really nice trot work out of him today. 

And guess what?!?! We got NO lead changes :) :) We held the right lead for a shallow serpentine, then a serpentine to X, and then... even a 3 loop canter serpentine!! Granted I made the first two loops tight, and left the counter canter one very shallow, but he held it. And we had a fairly decent canter too. Whoo hooo!!! 

We had some pretty lovely trot work. I'm actually starting to feel it to and being able to ride him more effectively. He was pretty stiff to the right today, as usual, but I was better able to feel that the right side was way too long and shorten it and use that outside rein to get him into the contact.

 It was a fun day. :) I may have to outwit his rowdyness with counter canters and leg yields at Chatt for our Tadpole test... hee hee. But that's okay. :) 

Dan's reward for his hard work today 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stadium with Beth

Dannys jump lesson

better course

Getting it!

I had a great lesson with Beth! We discussed what we needed to work on and she decided to put placing poles out so that Dan would start to get the hang of where he was supposed to take off. My job was to get him in a nice energetic but rocked back canter that was slow and maintain the rhythm and get him TO the placing pole. :) 

When I rode TO the placing pole, and kept my canter, as opposed to just keeping the canter, we had a most lovely ride. Of course once she pulled the camera out, it started to fall apart. Sigh. ;) Of course. 

But really, it was a very helpful lesson. We both got something out of it and I think that I am getting better at riding my big boy horse now instead of just letting him lope around on the buckle like he's still 3. 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Too much Red Cell!

Hee hee... I wanted some energy and I got some energy! Silly Danimal. Today was my lesson with Kelly in the XC field. He was sooo sluggish the other day that I was worried about him. So I started to up his red cell to twice a day thinking that might help. Well, it did! He was fresh today. :) But it was fun. And he wasn't really that bad. 

We warmed up and Kelly told me that I was going to start working on putting a half halt on Dan. She said that she wanted me to start sitting up and deep in my body to ask him to half-halt with my position, not my hand. That way, as we're galloping up to our big huge intermediate fences, I can just sit up and back and he'll rev that engine and bring his butt underneath himself without me having to get in his face and slow him down or fight with him. She said that by starting out by changing my body, then going to the hand to half halt, I would eventually teach him to do it without the hand. He's a smarty pants and was already starting to pick up on it. :) At least on the flat. Once we got jumping, he was a bit more of a hand ride. ;) Somebody got a little riled up!

We started out working on a nice quiet calm tempo and me focusing on my position. The first few little fences were very sedate and normal. So then Kelly sent us over some bigger stuff.  And then it started to get fun. We did the line up the hill towards the parking area and the first two fences were good but when we hit the third fence a fire breathing dragon came out! The first time we did the third fence, Dan took the bit 3 strides out and catapulted to it and flung himself over it and then put his head between his legs and took off bucking. Dingbat! It was a wee bit terrifying at first but then I had to giggle. Kelly was like "so.. you had a nice lovely BN tempo over fence 1 and 2, and then suddenly you were running intermediate over fence 3.. so yeah.... ". hee hee. Settle down Danimal! Good grief. So we continued to go uphill to help settle him down/tire him out. I managed to keep him to a dull roar for the rest and we had no more terrifying bolts at the fences. But I did have to keep him on a tighter rein than I'm used to. Which was quite nice honestly. I think it helped him jump better as he wasn't long and flat and lopey. There was a few times I started to water ski though as I got left behind. And I got stuck hanging on him some. So then Kelly reminded me about alternating half halts. Aha! It's hard because he's not consistent yet, so I'm not sure what he's going to do. So trying to pay attention to him and focus on fixing my problems is tough. Especially when he keeps changing tactics. But I did manage to finally fix my landing gear some of the time. 

We worked on kicking my feet in front of me on landing over the fences. We even jumped the middle cabin and roll top in the lines. Even the bigger scarier one with the holes in it next to the prelim bench! Danny was funny because I thought he might get a little backed off it as it has those scary holes. He was going to it all happy and brave and then as he jumped it, he sort of spooked and looked as he went over. Eeeks. :) Hee hee. 

So then after he settled and I was able to ride him a bit more effectively (ie... ride him like a horse, not a baby on a long rein, ride the rhythm in the canter and alternating half halts as needed) and we had some decent fences, we moved onto the ditches. Of course he was great over those. We did the scary ramp jump again! He wasn't looky this time. Then we headed to the water and did the up bank and down bank. Again I focused on the out and rode straight and it went better. Going to the up bank Kelly told me to just wait for him. He was sort of waiting on me and I was sort of anticipating and throwing him off. So I just waited to move til he moved and it worked well. He took a much more specific step up rather than sort of clambering up. Then we worked on the down. Kelly said that I was still going into two point too much. She wanted me to try a slightly bigger drop so that I could feel it better. She had me trot him out and up over the bank with the log laying on it. He was so funny. We trotted in the water and as soon as he realized I was aiming for that log, he stopped and was like "Wait, what?!?". I walked him forward to it and he sniffed it, walked another step and let him sniff the grass on the top, and then he almost walked up from there. I turned him around and we trotted back into the water and I knew he was going. He was like "Oh... why didn't you say so!? I've sooo got this Mom"! He's such a cutie. So we trotted up happily and then turned and trotted down. We finally got it right when I figured out to grab my breastplate strap. Kelly wanted me to keep my hands low and down but and pushing down, as well as pushing my feet down and forward, but without throwing my shoulders down. I couldn't figure out how to do that... My arms are too short or something. But then when we went down the big one the first time, he stopped at the top. I grabbed the saddle in case he leapt off. He didn't. He stopped, sniffed, and then calmly and quietly dropped off. :) Kelly said that's how she wanted my hands. So then my brain clicked and went OH!!! I can grab the breast plate strap at the base of his neck, rather than aiming for slightly higher up his neck. For whatever dumb reason in my brain, that worked so much better for being able to extend my arms and keep my shoulders up instead of falling down. So yay! We did it a few times and Dan was awesome. He kept trucking through and let me figure it out. And I did! Then Kelly said that I was staying in the saddle too long now. Sigh. Argh! So we did it twice more and she had me come out of two point as soon as his front feet landed. I got it!! I got the hang of it. :) Finally!!

Now to make sure I can keep it up. :) But it was a super fun lesson and Danny was a blast. I like him a little extra frisky, so maybe he can stay on the twice daily red He is getting fitter too because while it was warm out and he sweated, he wasn't dripping and he wasn't panting nearly as much, despite being a bit quick and working pretty hard. Yay. I rewarded him by letting him go splash in the lake. He loved it and was quite vigorous in his splashings. 

Good day!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Birthday Boy

Danny turns 5!!!!

Time to put your big boy pants on rugrat! You've got some big shoes to fill

But I must say.. I'm so proud of you and the great horse you have become. You are a fantastic, happy, cheerful, goofy, weird, and sassy little boy. Who is 16.3 hands currently. :) And I love you for who you are and am looking forward to what the future holds for us!

Big boy Lesson

Fancy pants

leg yield from centerline to quarter line, 10 meter circle, then shoulder in. Shoulder ins are hard

Sunday Funday

Met with Liz and Kelli and Peri joined in on the ground. Fun day. Jumped in the arena... so not on the same page... flyer... long spot... chip in...

Finally realized that I was riding him like a baby on a loose rein so he was long and strung out. Once I did a bit of shoulder in coming into the fence and then kind of sat up and half halted (or even just rode him into the contact more) in the line, he was great. :)
Then we hit the field so Liz could see how Max was (great by the way) and after she went, we popped around a few for fun. He was game. :)

Saturday with Kelli

Long hack

Worked on trot lengthens in the field

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I ended up not riding Dan on Tuesday because I had to cancel my lesson so I could get Fleck seen. And then I ran out of time to ride Dan. Luckily I scheduled some time to ride this morning, even though it was a bit rushed.

We started with a short little hack out in the fields and then headed to the arena to do some dressage. I was tempted to jump but wasn't sure Kelli was going to be able to join me and didn't want to get in trouble for jumping alone. Plus, since we skipped our dressage lesson I figured we probably should be good. :)

Turns out, he was good! We actually had a fairly nice ride. Our connection wasn't consistent but we had good moments. Especially when I focused on keeping my end of the connection steady. AND... we kept our right lead counter canter every time!!! Even to the centerline and back. I had to really focus on keeping that outside rein and keeping my outside leg back, but we did it. We also had some nice leg yields. I couldn't remember any of the tests, so I rode my own test. I think it was a combination of training and prelim tests and they wouldn't have scored well at the prelim level, but we did it. :) It included a 10 meter figure 8 at x, leg yields both directions center line to the rail (Big arena so a bit easier), a canter lengthen, and our counter canters. Good pony!

Since he was so good we only flatted for about 25 minutes, but that was not including our warm up hack too. At that point Kelli arrived, so we went for another cooling out hack and then I had to go to work. 

Preventing an epic maniacal spree of some sort

So let's just say that I've spent the majority of this week either fighting back tears or in tears. I'm sure some of it is just sheer exhaustion. Some of it is PMS. But some of it is just the fact that I'm busy and have been going non-stop for weeks now, am stressed about learning stuff for acupuncture school (and in fact, I SHOULD be studying right this second instead but... ), stressed about the barn and money, stressed about Mike having to pay for all my fun stuff and not any of his fun stuff, stressed about everything... And I haven't been able to ride. And Fleck is broken. So.. yeah, add all that up and I'm just... gonna go on some sort of maniacal spree - killing... shopping.... singing.... I don't know.

I haven't had a weekend off in awhile because last weekend was acupuncture school. Then this weekend I have to work. I had to see two today and then tomorrow is a very full day so I definitely won't have time to ride tomorrow. Last night I didn't have time to ride. So I was really looking forward to riding today. And last night, I walked a sound happy Dan down to the pasture. I turned a sound happy Dan out. And then I went to the house, let the dogs out, and came back to the pasture to fill the water bucket. And Dan was almost 3 legged lame. In about 3 minutes time. What?!?! I walk up to him and turns out he has stepped on himself, cut his heel bulb and sprung his shoe half off. Still, why is he that lame?? Oh, because he has also twisted it enough that the clip is now embedded in his lamina. Ugh... I panicked and texted Freddie because his shoe was not coming off. And then of course, as soon as I sent him the text, I got it off. I soaked him in iodine and called it a day. Once the shoe was off and out of his sole, he felt much better and was much sounder. :)

Freddie texted back and said he could swing by 7 pm Saturday. Which... awesome, because that's less than 24 hours later, but... man..... that means I can't ride Sat. And I can't ride Sunday. So... yep, I'm a sad panda.

So anyways... Saturday I have to go to Elisa's to adjust Johnny. That's almost a 2 hour drive, but it's all good because Johnny and her and short-listed for the Olympics and need to be adjusted before the vetting next week. And it still gave me time to ride, assuming I had a horse to ride. Well, I had also scheduled another girl right after because in my multi-tasking process, I thought she said she was 30 minutes from Elisa. Turns out, not so much. She was over an hour away. And 2 hours away from home. Sigh.... But whatever, I didn't have a horse to ride anyways. Sigh... So I spent that hour driving crying, feeling sorry for myself. I found myself saying... God, can you just throw me a bone?! Please!

And then... I got a text from Freddie saying that he was 35 minutes away because someone had cancelled. Only I was still 1.5 hours from home. Luckily, I have the best husband ever and he went and got Dan and held him for me. So when I got home at 4:30, I had a horse with a shoe and time to go ride. I ended up taking Fleck too because why not?! Walking in the field won't hurt him and I desperately needed it.

So I had a great ride on both boys, just enjoying their company and the beautiful farm. I was so grateful that God allowed me to do that and for my husband who saw how close to the end of my rope that I was and told me to go ride instead of doing farm chores.

Of course as I loaded them up and was leaving, I shut the escape door and the window fell down and landed on my head. So yep... cried again. It left a lump but luckily no blood. Sigh.... At least I got to ride my ponies!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Which Dan do I get?!

I love my rugrat!

So.... he had yet another week off with me being in Kansas. I got home Sunday night and Monday morning we had the farrier coming. I tied Dan to the trailer to do Fleck first. Dan was great. At first. ;) Once the hay ran out he got goofy. I don't know if something spooked him or what but he pulled back and because he had snagged his halter from over the fence and played with it and I couldn't find it, he was in the rope halter. So... after a few seconds he stopped and let me untie him. So then I put him in the dog pen to graze while we finished up with Fleck. Of course he didn't graze. He walked up on the deck and nosed around, knocking over chairs. Then he grabbed my glad bird feeder and knocked it over and pawed it to smithereens. So then I went inside to get the dustpan and Cody snuck out. Well, Dan went to chasing him and poor Cody about peed his pants. He wasn't used to Dan being INSIDE the fence! Poor dog. So then I was able to just grab Dan and hold him as Freddie was just about done with Fleck. And considering, he was actually pretty good for Freddie.  So that was Monday. And then I had to rush to work right after. 

Tuesday was my dressage lesson. He hasn't been ridden since my lesson the week before. So I tacked up and got on and headed to the arena and he was fine. When we got into the arena, Hosanna was having a little bit of a tantrum and was dancing in place. Whether it got Dan riled up or it was just an excuse who knows, but he put his head down and did him own imitation of a rode bronc. He didn't quit either. He would scoot off and then do it again. And then he just wanted to go! So.... I decided to "lunge" him while staying on so we did multiple laps at the canter until he settled. It took about 5 solid minutes of cantering. Which, I guess isn't that much, but he was still pretty amped. I was just able to communicate and steer at this point. :) Hee hee. I like him like this. :) Cindy was mortified I think. :) We actually had a pretty good lesson after that! I really just need to remember to ride the outside rein and contain the outside of his body. 

Wednesday he had the day off as I had another full day and didn't get back in time to ride. Thursday morning was my lesson with Kelly. I hauled to Silverthorne and got tacked up. He was pretty quiet really and didn't put a foot wrong the entire lesson, other than threatening to roll a few times. So we had fun. We started with a trot grid but Kelly thought he was a little lazy since it was so hot and thought we better just canter. So we did a canter grid and then added in fences to do a course. He was wonderful. We worked on me just keeping the rhythm and tempo and letting him decide where to take off. He kept chipping in today it felt like, but in reality, he really only chipped in once or twice. The rest were just normal, but tight, distances. Oh, but our first one was a flyer. So then Kelly told me that I needed to stop worrying about distances and let him figure it out. His job was to get me to the other side and he could choose where he took off. She equated it to me running over the fences. If I'm going along, 3 strides out, I see where I need to be and can adjust myself without having to change anything too dramatically. However, if 3 strides out, somebody comes behind me and pushes me.... Ack!! Aha.. good point. And she said that he's figuring things out too. He tries one thing and decides it was too much work or not as comfy, so then he'll try something else.  

We also worked on me a little bit but mostly with keeping my arms a bit more ahead of me with very elastic elbows and following. And then I just kept counting and keeping the tempo. I wasn't allowed to let the canter change. So then... Kelly made me try something. She started with "Just trust me". hee hee. She had me get him into a canter and get a few strides out, straight, and then close my eyes. It was nice because I could almost tell just before I closed my eyes how many strides we had, so it wasn't terrifying. But I had to trust and let go. And I'll be darned if he didn't jump so pretty each time I closed my eyes. And I felt like my body position was actually better too. Wheee!! We did it about 6 times and it really did help.

So that's my homework. Set up two fences on a circle but leaving myself enough room to ride the canter, get him straight, close my eyes for a few strides, land straight, and then... I also have to work on the turn. He was getting a little slow/weak in the turns and decreasing the tempo. So I need to focus on keeping the canter the same through the turn too, not pushing him and running him, but not letting him slow down. Then back to straight, close my eyes and feel him come up and wait for him. Then I can also focus on my position if I want. 

So yay! Fun lesson. :) 
I figured he deserved that roll.