Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Working on sit and fast hind feet

 Today we went to Ashland and it was finally warm! The ring was still a bit mushy, but better than mine. Although mine will hopefully be fixed soon! 

Kelli met me and watched us ride. She gave us some pointers. She reminded me that my pelvis wants to rotate to the left side, thus making it hard for Dan to bend right. Oh yeah. Ugh... of course I have to figure out how to move my pelvis without shoving my left shoulder forward too and giving up the outside rein connection. 

 (Dan was hiding behind Funny earlier as he was staring at the guys working on the road! hee hee). 

And basically.. she pointed out that Dan has to go a little deeper now to get through and round and not braced and that I need to find the right tempo for him. He tends to get quick and when he gets quick, he gets a little runny and goes past his balance. So I have to find that right speed and rhythm to keep him balanced, which then allows his hind end to move quicker but lets him still stay through and balanced and off his forehand. 

We got some good trots and canters and played with the halfpass. It wasn't great, but... we got a few steps of lovely going to the right and a few steps of decent going left. I think we even got a full change that maybe then had another full change back to the original lead. :) 

We did a quick hack around the lake afterwards but didn't get to do anything else sadly. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Snow Day!

 But sadly... no t-rex raft. It snowed... but it didn't stick. Not even a little bit. Which is surprising as it snowed/sleeted all day. If it had stuck we would have had a decent amount of accumulation. Oh well. 

The ponies were double rugged, had warm water and plenty of hay. Dan was being silly this morning and messing with Funny. Goobers!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Dressage and hack before the storm

 Getting it done!! Although yesterday I didn't get it done. I did not ride nor did I run. Oh well, once in 2 weeks isn't too bad. And it was a rough day. I was pretty much non-stop from 7 am to 7 pm when I got home. And then I was just way too brain fried and it was too cold and dark to go run. And maybe I should have done a Chloe Ting work out at least... I was tired. So I thought I might do it today, but alas.... today was non-stop too. Mike and I sort of slept in. I think it was 7:30 when the dogs got us up. He wanted to go to breakfast so I got the animals fed and we went to Yesterday Cafe in Rutledge. I got avacado eggs instead of french toast, so... there's that. Then I came home and finished painting the cavaletti's. I've been dying to get those done... especially before the rain came, but in general too. Then I ended up with paint all over my jacket so I had to get paint thinner and wipe it off. Then I had talked to Shelly about the arena and she was asking for measurements and it was about time to go ride and the ponies were up by the arena, so... I hiked up there and measured out the arena. Holy Moly! My arena is huge. It's roughly 220' by 175'! Sweet... until you have to fence it in with better fencing. Doh! 

When I went up there to check the fencing, the ponies were all in the corner and Dan was swinging something around in his mouth. I whistled and he turned and look at me and spit it out, like... "I wasn't doing anything"!. hee hee. It looked like a stick that he was playing with. Goofy boy! So I caught him and Funny was sad again that she wasn't going. Ugh. I'm sorry girl!! I really am meaning to do things with you, but how the heck do I make it happen without adding more hours to the day or doing it after dinner in the dark and cold? Ugh. So Dan and I went to Ashland after stopping for some hay. We got on and did our warm up hack and then went to the arena. He was kind of a butt starting out. We worked through it and got progress but he was really not wanting to stretch his right side. He kept falling in tracking left, and falling out tracking right. And just being a bit rooty. But we managed to get some good transitions, even in the downwards. And we had some really nice canter. We worked on the half pass and suddenly half passing to the left is really hard again. I'm starting to wonder if there is something. He almost feels cross cantery on the left lead. He's not, but it feels odd. But there was no unsoundness and he did all the things, so... I paid more attention to my body and it got better. But left half pass is definitely harder. Trot and canter. We had some good medium trots and some good rein backs and turn on the forehands. We finished with some lengthen down centerlines to some decent halts. 

By the point Peri was on and ready to ride. And we were done too so it was perfect timing. So then we went for a long hack. It was probably an hour. It was fun. I miss doing that with her. It got to be a bit chilly so we headed back. Once I got home, Mike wanted to go get lunch, despite it now being 3 pm but I was hungry too so off we went. Then we stopped at home depot so I could get screws to finish my cavalettis. So then I did that, unloaded the hay, fluffed stalls, fed animals, filled water buckets, scrubbed and refilled the trough, closed up the barn and shut off the water. Phew. And now it's 7:30 pm and I still haven't had dinner or showered. BUT... the ponies are all snuggled up in double layers since the freezing sleeting rain is supposed to start in about 1 hour. It's supposed to be in the 20's with the windchill and we might even get snow/sleet/ice tomorrow. Honestly, I'm kind of looking forward to a nice day to just sit inside and do nothing. UNLESS... it snows enough that I can take my T-rex raft and long line Dan and go tubing. :) 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Feeling energized again

 Thank goodness! I'm not sure what was going on with Dan Tuesday but at least today he felt better and back to normal. In fact, while I was tacking him up at the trailer he was a bit spooky and jumpy. But he was good in the arena. We had a decent ride. I didn't get my cavaletti's finished so we didn't get to work on those, but we did our homework. 

We did transitions through breathing and weight aids, we did transitions, we did haunches in to renvers at the trot, we did turn on the haunches and some leg yielding on the rail. We didn't focus too much on the collection work today but more on me not nagging with my legs. We did play with trot and canter half pass and medium trots and rein back. We also did some counter canter and simple changes. We're making progress. I think. I hope. I also worked on keeping my core up and tight.. like a carousel pole. 

It was a decent ride. He was a good boy and did all the things and he definitely wasn't exhausted, although he is still snatching and "biting" at his shoulder. Mike came up to check on us when he got home from work so I had him do a quick video. I wish I could have been greedy and more specific but I'm grateful I got what I did. Especially with the amazing sunset! However, it's frustrating because he feels so much better than he looks. I can't figure out how to ride properly to get him sitting and using his hind end and he's not building the neck muscle like he should. And I know it's cause he's not really in the connection like he should be but I can't figure out how to do it. Just feeling a little blue lately. It's hard because he feels so lovely and wonderful in my brain, but then I see it and it's such a disappointment. And it's not his fault. He's doing what I'm asking. I just... am not asking right. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Jumping at Home

Well today was interesting... I dropped my truck off this morning for my christmas present from Mike - heated seats!!! Yay! But that meant no lessons for me as I didn't have a way to get there. But then Jacel messaged and said that no one was wanting lessons other than me and Jean so she offered to come to us! Yay!! So my day was a bit jam packed but it worked out. After we dropped the truck off we stopped at Dad's office on the way home to say hi to him. Then once I got home I ate some lunch and then was hoping to get my cavaletti's painted. I forgot to get screws so I couldn't finish them, but I figured I could at least get one coat of paint on them so maybe I'd have them done by Thursday to use since I would likely be riding at home. So I did that. Then I almost ran out of time to get ready for my lesson. Unfortunately, I didn't get on as early as I would have liked and been able to hack him up and down the hill a few times first, but oh well. We walked up to the arena and Jacel was still riding one of Jeans, so I figured I had time to warm up. Plus.. ha! She laughed at my attempt to set up her exercise she had set me. To be fair.. I think the people just measured wrong! I did it like the picture showed, with the right amount of distance between the fences, but.. she tweaked it. Ha! No worries as it gave me time to warm him up. 

Except.. he didn't want to do anything. It was so unlike him. Like... I don't think I've EVER felt him like this. He wasn't lazy necessarily... he just wanted to stop and stay stopped. When we were talking, he was on the buckle with his nose all the way to the ground and just sat there. Nose on the ground. In order to get him moving I had to almost pony club kick him... repeatedly. And once I got him moving, he wasn't super lazy... I mean, he'd go. He'd trot, he'd canter... he just really made me insist. And as soon as I backed off, he broke to the halt and would put his head down. It was bizarre. Even Jacel thought it was weird. She did say that she didn't see any lameness... no neurological stuff. He just look fatigued. She did point out that perhaps he overdid it with the jigging and cantering in place at the fox hunt. But that was 3 days ago?! But... it does make sense that maybe he was muscle sore today. Or muscle fatigued. ??? Who knows! So we didn't work him too hard but we did have our lesson. And he was cooperative. He wasn't on fire but he was cantering and forward enough. It was just so odd. But.. whatever, he didn't say NO... he just said "I'll rest here while you guys talk". ha ha. Anyways....

I had set up a line of 3 fences with 4 strides between. Then the center fence had four fences set up diagonal to it... so you could jump the line down the center... or you could jump the diagonal line, straight line but the middle jump was angled, or.. you could do bendy lines, or jump on an arced line.. We started with the straight line and did the 4 nicely. Yay! Jacel also mentioned that later I could work on doing it in 3 or 5. Or 3 to 5. Or 5 to 3. Or maybe 5 to 4 and 4 to 5... 

Then we did the diagonal line with the middle fence angled. They were small so it wasn't too tough, but the question was there and that's what we were working on. Jacel said to jump the first fence straight and lined up with the third fence straight. Then once we jumped the first fence, look at the third fence, line up, then focus on the second fence. That way we kept the line but also could focus on jumping the second fence. The trick was to keep the line, but also keep the rhythm. It worked well! And maybe, subconsciously, that's what I do, but it was nice to have it spoken out loud and as a reminder. We did that fairly well. Then she had us jump the diagonal line to the middle fence to the 3rd fence on the straight line. So we did an s curve from the diagonal to the "angled" fence that was no longer angled because of the S curve. Then we continued straight. And... it wasn't too bad on the left lead because Dan is happy to bend left and drift right and we put the extra stride in that was created by the bendy line and carried on. But... coming off the right lead was tough! Dan did not want to get off my right leg and go left. So I had to really ride. Which meant... use my right leg, ride the pivot with my upper body and arms - in other words... Keep my elbow at my side, don't cross over his neck with the reins, and turn his shoulders with my upper body and "rein channel". Except... I can't just ride the shoulders. They are important, yes, but... I have to engage the hind end first. So.. I must include inside leg. The first time or two Dan didn't listen to my aids and we chipped and it was ugly. The third time I only rode the shoulders and didn't ride the barrel and hind end and it was uglier than when Dan messed it up. Jacel called me out on it. But she also pointed out that at least I was doing half right and that Dan still managed to not roll over his shoulder. So then we fixed it and I rode it right and Dan listened better. It's still MUCH tougher that way. Which was a helpful reminder! 

So we'll practice that again some when we jump next at home. Hopefully we'll get to it before our next jump lesson. :) And hopefully there's nothing majorly wrong with Dan and he'll be fine next time I ride. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Promises Kept

 sunday hack

Kinda lazy... felt a little neuro behind. Maybe sore from foxhunting. But after we did some trotting and cantering which felt totally normal... he seemed better. Went and jumped some in the arena and he was good.

We Foxhunted!!!

 Most boring first flight ever!! ha ha. Dan wants his money back. :) hee hee. Teasing.. kind of. We had a blast but it was a very tame day. The coyotes and foxes were a no show, so... it was mostly a trail ride. But we still had fun and Dan made it adventurous. And we got to jump some coops and see cows and friends. So, a very good day. A very good day indeed! And probably a much better introduction than just going all out. And Dan still made it exhiting!


We got there early enough to get tacked up and ready and have time to warm up. Side note. No studs! Dan gets a little kicky. So... no studs! I did put studs in today because I had no clue what to expect. He was chomping his hay and totally relaxed at the trailer but I was smart and got on early. Also, Missy had said that the last time she did it they hit a trail as soon as they started so they didn't have much warm up. Since it was a fridid 30 degrees, I wanted to make sure he was warmed up before we did any trotting or cantering. (Hee hee.. I needn't have worried!). We went to the field and started walking around and he was fine. The hounds were getting ready so they started talking which had his interest a little piqued. He got animated but not bad. Then we started trotting and after 6 minutes or so he took a breath and was fine. And then we went to walk over to the rest of the people starting to gather and... hee hee.. This TEENY little white marshmellow fluff of a mini was getting lunged. Dan had a fit and spun into another horse, tried to bolt, and then started in horror with his heart pounding. It's literally like... 12 hands Dan! He finally realized it wasn't some sort of scary creature and settled so we then sat and ate grass. Then the hounds came up and he was still munching til suddenly he scooted! But then he was fine again. At that point they were ready so they gathered us all up into our groups and went over some ground rules. There were a TON of riders... Probably 45 or so. It was a huge group. Courtney and Jacel were there and had signed up for first flight, so... what the heck! That's what we did to. I figured it might be good to get his feet moving and having to jump things would get his brain occupied and hopefully be better than just hacking in a group. Although it also had the potential to get him super amped up. So anyways... off we went. 


We started off following the Master (I think) and there was about 12 riders ahead of us. We just walked off down the drive and headed to the fields. Well... Dan was RARING to go and lost his brain. We basically pivoted left and right and cantered in place like a spazz. In a short time he had managed to sneak his way up to the front so that we were basically right behind Dr. Molony (yay!) who was our head leader, and right behind the Master, and then behind Laura was three other riders who were obviously staff or regulars. So.. okay... well... at least he feels more like he's in front. And Devon and Blaze were behind us and I knew they weren't regulars so I felt okay about it. Plus it was nice to have someone who knew Dan behind us as she could keep her distance if warranted. :) And the cute little paint gelding in front of me was very very tolerant of Dan. So we basically walked for a good bit letting the hounds search. Dan jigged and bounced and carried on but basically stayed in his 6th position. 


After a bit we came up to a tiny stone wall that Dr. Molony jumped, so we jumped that. Except because we had such a big line of horses and there was still no coyote we basically trotted/cantered 4 strides, jumped it, and then cantered another 4 strides and had to pull up. But yay, we did get to move our feet. We then walked a lot more. Then stopped and listened to the hounds. By this point Dan had sort of settled and was atleast walking flat footed and not bouncing in place anymore. Mostly. There were occasional moments. And often when we stopped, he would be okay.. then suddenly spin around, almost backing into the other horse and then stare back at the line of horses behind us. But he was also very intent on looking for the dogs. And at one point... I was cracking up because he CLEARLY was intent on getting a coyote. Like.... I think he felt that the hounds were just farting around and not taking it seriously enough and he was all set to take off and chase that coyote down himself and tear it up to pieces. hee hee. He was feeling a wee bit murdery. :) Again though... he was really interested in the hounds. And the noises the huntsman was making. It was really kind of neat. And he was so good about the hounds. He didn't try to chomp or chase one. And he wasn't even pinning his ears at them. Other than being annoyed that they weren't finding anything, he was really good about them. 

So basically... we never found a coyote, so our first flight foxhunt was a 3 hour trail ride mostly at the walk (or trotting or cantering in place). We did get to jump about 6 coops though, and the last one was sizable. And Dan was so good! He just jumped right over them, even in good form too. One of them was at the top of a hill so you jumped it and then immediately went down a fairly steep hill. He was good about that too. We went through some cow pastures and saw cows. One little baby cow came up to a few of the horses. I was hoping he'd come up to Dan but he didn't. But Dan wasn't phased by the cows. Curious, but not phased. So yay for that. The only issue we had is that he kicked out at Blaze once, while harumphing loudly. Hee hee. I do think that Blaze ran up on him closer than he would have since we had to stop short. Luckily Dan missed him. Then another chestnut ran up on him and Dan kicked out and unfortunately caught her right at the bit in the lip. She got a tiny little nick. ooops!!! Again, NO STUDS next time! And then at one point he got frustrated at standing and spun and tried to stomp the nice little paint horse. Ooops! Please don't kick us out. I don't think Dan was kicking to kick.. more just frustrated that we weren't running and chasing down vermin! But still.. not allowed sir! Not allowed. Especially if you insist on being up in front of the group. But all in all, I was quite proud and pleased. I was able to ride one handed and loose reined most of the ride. Even when he was being bouncy and flailing in place, he was very much within the connection and not bolting. And I didn't have to hold him that hard either. He was very much contained. You could tell that he wanted to, but he wasn't blowing through me. And he was so good with the hounds. And he seemed genuinely interested in the hounds and the redcoats. 

So super cool fun day! Freezing... and we both wished that we could have done some running, like I promised him. But.. next time! I'm so glad that we went!