Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Ride

Made it out to the barn to ride both horses today! Yesterday I was planning on riding Jetta since I hadn't ridden her in oh, six days. But after locking myself out of my car and having to walk 40 minutes across campus to my house to get the spare key and then 40 minutes back to get my car... I decided it was probably better I stayed home.

Poor Jetta, seven days off. I was expecting a bit of a fireball today but she was near perfect. She was soft and floaty for the most part. I worked on getting her a little more responsive to my leg and seat. I was thinking about it and it's kind of funny I'm working on sensitizing her since when I started her under saddle just the smallest amount of leg or sitting too deep on her caused her to explode. Funny how that worked out... Anyways, lots of transitions, she was very good about halting nicely from the trot. Canter transitions were beautiful. After our last ride she was doing them really well and today whenever I asked her for a little more lift in her shoulders she felt like she wanted to canter.

Almost had a few "accidents" - the BO's put the mini in one of the stalls at the end of the arena that had been full of hay for him to clean up the few pieces left, and left the door open. Jetta thought he was terrifying. At one point in the canter I asked for a trot and she slammed on the brakes then proceeded to spook backwards a couple steps when her sliding stop kicked up some dirt that hit the banner on the wall. Lovely pony. Almost smacked my face into her neck. Take two. We walked up to the pony and stared at it for a little while. Jetta determined that it probably wasn't a threat (couldn't be too sure though). We cantered around some more and I practiced my two point - I was sure that the pony was going to move, Jetta was going to spook and I was going to eat dirt. I was lucky though, no such thing happened. I did almost smack into her neck again when the BO's dog (who is the cutest thing ever by the way) yelped from the stall that he was relegated to.

Next up was Tux. No lunging since the BO was lunging her horse and I didn't want to have any accidents with the whole running out on me thing. He was also a very good pony! Very spooky though too, must be something about it being Halloween. The BO was washing her horses in the wash rack which is apparently even more terrifying than actually being in the pony torture chamber. We worked through it though we got our first sidepass though! And a canter leg yield too, lol. Love it when they show off their athleticism on their own :)

His canter is just improving in leaps and bounds (literally). He is still having some trouble with the right lead so it's not as relaxed as the other lead. But he is doing so well! December 1st is hopefully going to be his show debut. I hope this will be the one dressage show I get to make it to this whole year...

Sorry for the lack of pics! Hope you had or are having a great Halloween :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Job and a Half

Whew. So today I had two and a half hours that I was "allowed" to be at the barn (have to fit in studying some time!). I figured that would give me plenty of time to ride both horses and do some other stuff. Sadly no.

I had lots of non-riding stuff to do. I bought more grain and supplements so I brought those, I made up Jetta's supplement baggies so I know she's getting everything and wrote clearer instructions for Tux's food (previously I had baggies with his grain and supplements but those are running out so I'm not going to bother re-doing them). Then I organized my tack trunk - I feel bad because my stuff is slowly overtaking the tack room. I have two saddles, multiple pads, five bridles, lunging equipment, grooming tools, coolers, etc, etc. So I stuffed the maximum amount of stuff in my trunk to keep out of the way.

Tux was up first. We had quite a lot of fun lunging. He does this thing where he gets insecure so he'll turn and face you while lunging, then refuses to move forward and acts like you're coming to kill him. Katy did this too and I think it's just a combination of a lack of desensitization and not being completely/correctly halter broke. I've done the reassuring "just move forward and when you do I'll take all pressure off" just calmly motioning for him to move forward but he continues to do it and it's starting to make me a little bit ticked off, so I reevaluated and I think we've found a better solution - if he wants to back up then he can keep backing all the way around the arena until he thinks it's time to move forward. Much better. We managed to lunge like a normal horse for several circles and a walk, trot and canter. I think we were both sweating the same amount by the end of that.

Since he was pretty much spent after that fun stuff I figured I'd just hop on him and have a short ride. He was almost perfect today, nothing like the stickiness we experienced Saturday. Mostly just walked and trotted, mixed it up by going straight down the centerline or quarter lines or leg yielding. He had a bit of a hard time moving his hip to the right so we worked on that. Finished up with a close to perfect canter. He was moving perfect at the trot so I thought I'd throw one in to see how he's doing. Calmly moved off my leg into the correct lead, didn't rush or get too tense. Did one 20 meter circle, he didn't drop his shoulder at all, and he easily came back to the trot. What a good boy.

Since he was dripping sweat I decided that he needed a bath, I was planning on doing a white lightning soak for his hooves anyways so he went into the cross ties in the wash rack (aka pony torture room). Hosed him off with no theatrics and got to work on his hooves. Katy had amazing hooves but Tux, not so much. They're pretty soft, though he has a very thick hoof wall and I think he has pretty good sole depth but the softness is just due to lack of work on varied surfaces and thrush. He is definitely about due for a trim and I picked out his hooves thoroughly. It'll be interesting to talk to AC when she comes to trim - his collateral grooves are deeper on one side than the other plus on one front hoof he has a dent at the toe in the white line. I soaked his fronts for 10 minutes, then his hinds for 10 minutes and he stood very patiently, though he wasn't quite too sure of what those plastic bags were doing on his feet!

In the pony torture room, awaiting his fate...
Sadly all that work left no time for Jetta so I guess it gets to be her day tomorrow. I made sure to give her a couple apples and a kiss on the nose before I left though :)

By the end, Tux was clean - his hooves were cleaned out, his coat shiny and slick and his tail brushed and rebraided. Me on the other hand, I smelt like a combination of thrush, manure, sweat and vinegar/chlorine. Let me tell you, that is a winning combination. I drove home with the windows down.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lazy Saturday

Had a wonderful, lazy day today where I slept in really late and then spent the evening at the barn.

I rode Tux today and he was having a bit of a bratty baby day, but it was understandable after two days off and a ton of activity - it was dinner time so everyone was getting their food and then we rode with someone else in the arena for the first time so he was very distracted and didn't want to listen to my leg one bit, so we had a discussion about that and we ended on a fairly good note, though poor Tux was so sweaty. It's difficult being naughty. He was actually quite sassy today and gave a few crow hops in the canter, but once he settled down we got a fairly nice canter. It's getting there! He's also due for a body clip sometime soon which I always think is exciting, so as soon as I get my new clipper blades in the mail it's going to be a spa day!

Are we done yet?

Poor tired pony

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wonderpony and The List

Tuxedo is such an awesome boy! I've ridden him twice at the new barn and he just keeps blowing me away with how amazing he is. At this point, I seriously feel like I could take him to his first show and pull off a respectable First Level Test 2 perhaps. His canter is not as nice as I'd like to see it. He still gets tense and it gets choppy but I think as he gets more and more time in the canter he'll end up relaxing. But he's getting more steady in the bridle. He is so adjustable with responding to me moving his shoulders or haunches. Leg yields are NBD, lengthenings are gorgeous. He still falls on his forehand occasionally or lets his haunches trail but a slight correction and he's doing almost perfect. I'm currently trying to figure out ways I can keep him - how to afford two horses' board and live without the money I'd make selling him...

He's just so much fun to ride! Last night, I'm afraid I rode him a bit harder than I normally would have because he was doing so well. It wasn't until a walk break that I noticed the steam rolling off of him. Sorry buddy! He's just so game to do everything. Today we worked on keeping his shoulder up through the corners in the canter and working with the free walk and stretchy trot. By the end he was doing so much better and he pulled off a beautiful 20m canter circle and a fantastic stretchy trot.

Here's our list of things to work on:
  • Cantering - picking up the correct lead automatically, not dropping his shoulder through the corners, work on adjustability and roundness
  • Shoulder-in and haunches-in
  • Teach him to self load in the trailer
  • Continue to work on desensitization
  • Start over ground poles and small cavalettis
  • Go to a show
  • Take him to different arenas to ride, go play on the big indoor trail course, etc.
  • Lesson with TS maybe?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Settled in

Tuxedo is all settled in! I moved him in on Saturday - in between going to the tack sale and setting up the dressage arena for our team show. It was a long day, starting at 6 am and going until 7 pm. Too long I tell you, without a break.

Anyways, I ran home after the tack sale and loaded up the trailer with more tons of stuff - his bridle, girth, pad, and blanket. Then all the jumping blocks, barrels and poles went into the trailer. I even picked a whole bucket of apples to bring up to the barn for all the horses. I thought there wouldn't be many apples this year, based on how many tiny little baby apples there were earlier in the season. But the tree had a ton of apples with very few worms/blights and they actually got pretty big. I even munched on one while I collected a bucketful and it was really good.

Poor Grady's all by his lonesome now. I gave him his dinner when I took Tux out so the poor guy barely noticed that Tux was leaving. Tux loaded up fine (with a slight, this again? attitude) and the drive up was quiet and long. We got to the barn and he snorted his way off the trailer. He almost didn't go into his stall he was being so silly. Once he got inside though, he decided it was ok since there was food :)

Sunday I was so tired and I still had to study for a midterm so he just got lunged. Today, he got half a bath - just his legs and tail and some of his belly. He doesn't look like such a piglet anymore :) He wasn't pleased - I put him in the cross ties and turned the (hot!) water on and Tux almost fell over. Dork. He settled down though and I got him all cleaned up.

Poor tortured pony

Jetta was next. I put the new girth on her and it fits! It's a 52" and Jetta is a 50" so I wasn't sure if it would fit, but it was too good of a deal to pass up, plus the lady selling it said it ran small which was why she was selling it. It was perfect on Jetta. We had a very short and sweet ride. I let Jetta be a little more forward with a more ground covering stride as long as she didn't rush and stayed soft. Worked on adjusting her canter and she was fantastic today. Finished up with a perfect halt at X. Not bad for two days off!

Good pony.

Are we stylin or are we stylin?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Show Time

The team dressage show was over the weekend. Boy am I glad that it's over. Two days in a row starting at 6 am and being full of stuff to do. We set up the evening before. Kind of disappointed in the team - of course everyone wants to participate in the clinics and such, but no one shows up to help at the shows, where we fund raise all our money. Me, two members and one boyfriend helped set up. But, we were motivated since it was cold and a football game was on, so we got it set up in record time.

The next morning was an early start again, especially since we stayed up till 11:30 pm watching the game. But it wasn't like I could go to bed early, what with everyone yelling at the TV so I stayed up to watch it and got some homework done.

Morning was way too early. I am not a morning person. We put out the letters on the dressage arena and set up the office. Of course I thought there was a table in the office for us to use, but there wasn't. So we used a little nightstand and a piece of plywood on a box. Resourcefulness at it's finest. The show went off without a hitch for the most part. The only problem was I forgot the waivers that we have to do through the university. I ran home to get them aaand they weren't there. And they weren't online. So I dragged my printer/copier out to the show so I could make a bunch of copies of an old version of the waiver.

Other than that - it stayed mostly dry with only a few light showers. No one scratched their classes, everyone paid, and no one got hurt. It was a good show. Just wish we had a better turnout!

ML rode in both her and Addie's first dressage show and did very well! Their high score in intro was a 69%. I caught some good pictures of them:

After taking the dressage arena down, setting jumps back up in the arena, taking the truck and trailer back to the barn (ML borrowed it) and studying for my morning midterm, I promptly crashed early. Who knew dressage arenas gave you such a work out?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Personal (Tack) Shopper

I should be a personal tack shopper. Seriously.

Today was the big tack sale so I woke up early for it - only for horse functions I tell you :)

It was a dark and rainy drive, but I made it there without any problems and got to see an amazing sunrise. It was all worth it. This has to be one of the best, hugest tack sales EVER. Love it.

Not representative of the sheer numbers of people there!

I had my list of things that I was allowed to buy and how much I could buy (gotta rein in the tack whore tendencies!) and I think I did very well.

ML asked me if I could find her a dressage bridle and surprisingly I found a very nice one for $35 - perfect! There was a lot more dressage tack this year. The year I bought my dressage saddle, there were a few old cheap-y ones and then there was my saddle. And that was it. This year there was quite a few nice saddles - I even ran into one that I was admiring (I really like textured leather) and I glanced at the price tag - $1700. Eh, that made sense, I didn't see what the brand was, but it was nice quality. I was about to move on when the owner came up and said "That's $170, not $1700". I wanted to buy it. Good thing I already had a saddle and it wasn't a wide tree :)

Too bad I'm not really riding western that much right now. These were gorgeous!

I also got an 84" cooler for Tux for a few dollars, a fly sheet for Jazz (stiffer fabric so it won't rip) for cheap and a $10 pelham bit that I'd like to try on Jetta for jumping. The icing on the cake? An Antares girth!!! A $215 girth for $80 and in perfect condition. It was too big for the owner's horse so it looks brand new. So excited! I always found at least one really good buy at the tack sale - I've gotten my Duett dressage saddle, the Veredus XC boots, and the $100 fly sheet for $15. Like I said, I love this tack sale.

Unfortunately no scrim sheets - I saw a grand total of two and they were burgundy. Definitely not my color. I was also hoping for some hind XC boots or some XL boots for Tux. Oh well.

I love tack sales not only because of the good finds, because of the funny, random stuff you see. Like a western saddle marked "Like New!" that was obviously at least a decade or two old and very obviously used. Pretty sure it's not "like new"... Or this hideous, fugly multi-clashing-colored rope halter that needed to be burned and someone was admiring it saying "but it's only $10!" No seriously, burn it. Or people loaded down with blankets upon blankets - they bring wagons to carry them out to their car. Lots of crazy looking bits, etc.

Can't wait for the next one! Looking forward to May :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mixing it Up

Unfortunately, nothing too exciting going on around here. Today was not the best as I had two midterms and while I felt prepared and confident going into them, I came out feeling awful about how I did. I would like nothing more than to go cuddle my pony but I had already decided that today I wouldn't ride so I could study for my next midterm that's on Monday, plus I'm sore from my ride yesterday.

Here's what we've been doing the past couple of days.

Tuesday I decided to ride in the sidepull. I haven't ridden her in it since last school year since she tends to be such a handful at home so I was pleased that she was nearly perfect in it. I love riding her in the sidepull because she doesn't try to hang on it and I know that it's not a harsh piece of equipment. It was kind of an interesting ride because the whole family was out feeding the horses - the BO and her husband, her 5 year old and their absolutely adorable Frenchie all running around, feeding hay and grain, walking through the arena, etc. Jetta was incredibly distracted by the hay wheelbarrow going past multiple times, but she paid attention for the most part and didn't get grumpy that she was missing her dinner.

Wednesday, yesterday, I went out to the barn with the plan of working Jetta on the lunge line over some poles and cavalettis, maybe free-jumping her. However, once I got to the barn the trainer was riding and I didn't want to get in the way. I hadn't met her yet because she always rides in the early morning (four weeks and I've never ridden with anyone!) and this was the earliest I'd ever made it out to the barn at 10:30am. She was super nice and very chatty, like everyone I've met at the barn. While she's not exactly my cup of tea as a trainer (she does western pleasure and I'm not exactly a fan of her equipment) at least she wasn't mean to the horses, like a trainer at a previous barn. Instead I rode in the jumping saddle and worked on two-point and did some stirrup-less riding. Slightly self conscious because since I didn't plan on riding, I rode in my western boots instead of tall boots, but oh well. I'm now sore and have a large blood-blister-like-bruise on my right inner thigh from the stirrup leather pinching me so I guess it's a good thing I'm not riding today. I need to figure out how to fix that...

Speaking of riding today, I'm super jealous that ML is going with another person to go school cross country today. The course closes for the winter this weekend and it's supposed to rain Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so sadly I don't see myself doing cross country until summer rolls around again. Sad!

I'm looking forward to a horsey filled weekend though!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taking a Moment

Wow, this term has been non stop for the past four weeks. I thought it would be nice and laid back because I'm only taking 3 classes essentially and I only have one morning class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Instead, I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with no head. It's crazy and it doesn't look like anything's going to let up until November gets here.

This week has lots in store - my additional class outside the university, Forage & Pasture Management is on Wednesday, Thursday I have a dressage team meeting to prepare for our upcoming show in addition to two midterms, Friday the dressage team officers have to meet with the RecSports administration for our monthly meeting (ugh, paperwork...) while we're at it I'll throw in a meeting for Rotaract. Then Saturday is the big tack sale in the morning, then in the evening we're setting up for our dressage show. Sunday is the big day of the show. We don't have very many entries so it will go quick which I guess is a good thing, because I'm not sure when I'll find the time to write a paper for the camping trip I went on for a class this past weekend which is due on Sunday. Plus, I still have to print out all the tests and other paperwork before the show and make sure everything else is all ready. Sigh, it's madness.

All of this makes me glad I have a horse. It adds a lot of stuff to my schedule, but it's my stress reliever. I'm able to go out to the barn and spend time with my pony and relax. I don't have my huge "To Do" list running through my head. The barn is quiet and Jetta is being so good. I can take a moment for myself. This evening I caught a beautiful sunset just as I was leaving the barn and it made me glad I was able to take the time to go out to the barn!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blanket Season

Well it's that time of year again. Blanketing! I ventured into my blanket box to see what I had - what needed to be cleaned, what needed to be repaired, etc. A nice surprise too - I have a blanket for Tuxedo! An extra blanket left over from Katy. It's a 81" so even though Tux measures as an 84" it will still fit him nicely. Good timing too. The big bi-annual tack sale is this weekend (yay! can't wait) so I was planning on finding one for him there. I think now he just needs a neck cover since he'll be fully clipped and maybe a scrim for after workouts... I have a cooler that I use for the other horses, but it's a 75" - a full 9" shorter than his body... haha that would look pretty silly. He has an 78" stable sheet just to keep him clean which exposes about 4" of his hiney, but at least it keeps him clean!

Who knew I had so many blankets... I certainly didn't!

Grady got his light weight turnout sheet on today. I like to keep him blanketed so he doesn't have to expend his energy staying warm and the fall/winter weather has officially arrived... it's been pouring the past couple days. Yuck. Jetta's fly sheet went back into the storage box. I don't think she'll be needing that for the next 10 months, sigh. Her lightweight turnout and stable sheet went into the washing machine a few minutes ago. Now that just leaves Jetta and Grady's mid-weight turnouts and Jetta's mid-weight stable blanket that I have to take to the laundromat's to get washed. Ugh, I hate doing this. I live in perpetual fear of being chased out of the laundromat with a broomstick for bringing in my filthy, hairy horse blankets. But in my defense, I do run a stiff brush over them to get the chunks of mud off and most of the hair off, so...

All prepared for the rainy weather.

In other news, Jazz went to her next lease home. I'm very pleased with the new lessor, she reminds me of the last lessor so I know they'll be a good fit! It's kind of sad, but this time the lease is for 6 months, so if she doesn't renew it, I will have her back in time for summer! Then I can ride her for a while, give lessons and let friends ride too.

Jetta was good today. She's no longer in heat thankfully but the poor girl doesn't have a very good owner. I rode her twice last week maybe after five days off and then give her four more days off. Despite that we managed to get a perfect walk-canter transition today! We did one transition in each direction and then I was going to fine tune it to the left but she ended up getting all anticipatory so we worked on getting her in front of my leg in the walk like I was going to ask for a canter, but then I didn't. Then we had to work on some trot-halt-trots because she kept getting too strong and then ending up on her forehand. She got the message to rebalance and we finished with some haunches-in which are improving a lot. It's hard for her to straighten her neck out and get that little bit of inside bend, but we're getting there. Down the inside long side we had some drama llama going on because the mini in the last stall sometimes has one of those dog fences up so he can see out of his stall and he was poking his tiny pink nose over it and Jetta lost it a bit "OMG what is that thing?!" She feels 17 hands when she puffs herself up like that. It's pretty amusing when a 16.2 hand horse is terrified of something that's barely 42" tall. We had to go make friends afterwards with it and Jetta almost fell over when it whinnied at her. Silly horse.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Overdue Pictures

Finally! Pictures of Tux at the beach are here! I'm sure you were all waiting for them :) I ended up having to order a new cord for my camera since it has such a "special" one. Anyways, here they are:

Blurry one of him cantering nicely through the water

Me and JF

Cute ponyface

Walking through the river

Bravely walking in

I love this boy. And exciting news! He's moving up to the barn close to school with Jetta for one month starting the week of the 23rd. I'm so excited! It'll be a lot of work with two horses, but he needs that consistent time under saddle and it's only for one month. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Little Things

I am continuing to love my barn! Yes, it takes forever to get out there - a huge chunk of my time is spent on driving there and back, but I love the barn owners, I love that I never have to ride with anyone and I love that Jetta is well taken care of. The BO sends me little updates every so often. Today, since there's some city excavation going on behind the individual paddocks that Jetta usually gets turned out it she got to go in a slightly larger turnout with her "mare friend" Cool. Cool is super cute and adorable but I say "mare friend" instead of "buddy" because her and Jetta tolerate each other but not much more - typical mares, lol. We'll see if this relationship ever makes it to the "buddy" stage.

The BO works hard to make the barn environment welcome, whenever there's a new boarder coming in there's a nice little note on the board welcoming them in. Today there was a notice to start getting their blankets ready if you want them to start putting them on - and I love that they don't mind taking it on and off with no charge! The barn I first boarded at 2 years ago charged $5 per put on/take off. Ridiculous. I love riding before the horse's dinner because the radio plays all day over the speakers in the arena. Another major plus? The food! There's a mini fridge in the "rider's room" with waters for people, a box with random snack food and today there was a box of donuts and some grapes next to the bucket of apples for the horses with a note above them to help yourself! Food is always a good thing :)


Just all these little things add up and make me love this place. And the fact that Jetta continues to do well under saddle means a lot too. Today she was much more mare-ish, still in heat, sigh. A mare's heat (estrus) is 5 to 7 days instead of a lot of farm animals which is only a couple days (fact brought to you courtesy of my repro class!) so we may have a few more days of this considering I noticed on Monday that she was in heat, a very obvious fact when she's peeing everywhere. Overall though, she was very relaxed, wasn't rushing or falling on her forehand, had a really lovely trot and wasn't bearing down on the bit so I was happy. Had to work a lot on getting her to respond to my legs to get her to lift her inside shoulder - she didn't want to listen to it and if I pushed the issue she'd want to kick. Unfortunately typical for when she's in heat but we worked through it and got some nice shoulder-in work and some better haunches-in than last time.

Happy pony waiting for her apple

The BO and I have also decided to have an eventing trainer come out - I'll take lessons maybe every other week and she'll put her horse in training three days a week. I've never heard of this trainer so we'll see how it goes. Basically, I just want someone who will push me to do the things I always put off for another time (*cough*stirrup-less riding*cough*) and will be the eyes on the ground to remind me to sit up straight, back flat over the jumps, more/less release, heels down, leg on, etc. As long as she doesn't interfere with how I want Jetta's training to be and Jetta doesn't get any worse under her instruction I'll be happy, even if she ends up being a "mediocre" instructor. We'll just have to see once November rolls around!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Making Progress

I love my horses! Both Tux and Jetta have been improving in leaps and bounds.

Yesterday I had a great ride on Tux. At the beach we were able to canter lots and lots with all that wide open space and not having to worry about staying within the boundaries of a small arena so by the end he was cantering right out when I gave the cue and not getting as tense and worried. We continued on the theme yesterday and cantered a bunch. He's much more relaxed so he doesn't get that odd "bunny hop" canter and I'm able to get him on the bit fairly well. Steering is still a little negotiable (corners? what corners?) but overall not bad. He picked up both his leads with a little coaxing. He needs extra help preventing his shoulder from falling out so that he can pick up the correct lead, but not bad for a baby. We also played on my neighbors itty bitty trail course. She has some little cavalettis, poles to walk over and back through and a tarp. Tux was so cute. He marched up to the tarp with his ears glued forward and head down, snorting at it. He didn't hesitate one bit but stomped on the tarp with one foot then started pawing at it with the other. No big deal. I think he kind of likes the sound it makes because whenever I walked him across it he'd stomp extra hard on it. I even trotted him over the little cavalettis. Our work with the leg yields is interesting... he does them fairly well in both directions but now we need to work on straightness. He's far too wiggly. It cracks me up seeing our tracks in the arena zig-zagging down the wall.

Today was another great ride on Jetta. It felt very productive. Jetta seemed fidgety in the cross ties so I thought she'd be hyper but was actually a little bit of the opposite. I brought out some poles to trot over and she was great, a lot of times she's lock her jaw and won't soften over the poles, but today she was soft and responsive. Down one long wall I'd ask her to do shoulders-in or haunches-in then on the other wall she'd trot over the poles. To the left she was great, but the right is definitely harder. We had to break the haunches-in down to the walk, but she's getting it. The walk-canter transitions are coming along. We got one perfect one today. It was actually a halt-canter after I was backing her up. It's much easier for her then because she's already got her weight off her shoulders and onto her haunches for the transition. Still needs more work there, especially in making it a prettier, less crabby transition, but it's coming. Same with the canter-halt transition. Coming along, but still needs work. Overall I was really pleased with her today. My measure of success in making Jetta work hard? She had sweat on her belly meaning she was using those abdominal muscles today! I made sure she got her apple today for all that hard work.

I think it may be time for a new fly mask...

I got to meet the other half of the barn owner pair today - RB. He's super nice and we chatted a bit. He came out while I was riding to feed the horses lunch. He commented that Jetta has such a nice personality - I'm so glad she's behaving! I worry about that because I know she can be a brat. In fact today she is in heat so there was a lot of ear pinning in our ride today, but no kicking so I did give her a little slack for that since I know she's feeling a little sore in her hind end right now. Afterwards when I was picking up poles he came and helped me put them away, thanking me because he said "I think you're the only one who actually puts them away". I don't mind though, it's a fairly small arena so it gets in the way.

Now let's hope this post doesn't jinx anything about these great rides I've been having...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Neglected Pony & Some Lovin's

Poor Jetta. She's been totally neglected for the past week. I finally went and rode her last night after her having a whole 5 days off. She was super good even with all of the time off and after my lesson with Jazz and TS I'm determined to actually start moving forward in our training since I feel like we've been stuck in a rut of just working on getting her round and not hanging on the bit or rushing. Boring. Anyways, we worked on some walk canter transitions which were much better than last week's attempt although not great yet. Worked on making her more adjustable in the canter and working on canter-walk and canter-halt transitions. She was a hard worker :)

Tired ponyy

Today I went to see her immediately after class because I was having such a rotten day and spent some much needed pony time just loving on her, grooming her really well and stuffing her face with apples from the tree outside the barn. Then the barn kitty made an appearance and I snuggled with him some and enjoyed watching him and Jetta interact. I felt better already :)

Hmm, I can get closer to the human if I'm up here...

What is this fluff ball?

Just chillin

Okay, now I can't get down.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birthday Beach Ride

Yesterday was my birthday, and contrary to the usual, it was actually a great day! I don't usually look forwards to my birthday because I don't ever feel like it's that's special and last year actually took the cake for being the most awful birthday ever. So, I wasn't all excited this year. But, the day before my bday, JF invited me to go on a beach ride with her. Perfect!

I decided to take Tux just because this might be his only chance to go to the beach before I get him sold. It was quite the interesting day. First I had class at 9am until 10am. Then I squeezed in an interview to be a student speaker at a fancy dinner (why I do these things I have no idea - speaking in front of 300 people? Yikes!) Then I sped home to get Tux. I basically threw all his tack on and ran down to the bottom of the driveway to get picked up. We have a small driveway with no real turn around area and JF has a big gooseneck so this is our usual thing since normally I take Jazz and she'll self load in anything. I was a tad worried that Tux wouldn't be quite so good but he just snorted and stepped into the trailer like a good boy.

We picked up DC on the way out to the beach. We were the only ones there (of course, it being a Wednesday) and it was actually kind of warm which is very, very unusual. There's a reason that most people call it the coast, not the beach. Tux was very good, leading the way though snorting at every shadow and pile of rocks. We got over the dunes and most horses stop and stare at the water but I don't think Tux even noticed it until we got right up to it.

It's always interesting seeing how different horses react to the water. Katy didn't care one bit, Jetta was skeptical but ok, Grady didn't care, Jazz is tolerant but would much rather keep her hooves dry. At first Tux was quite terrified. He almost fell over more than once. Quite amusing. The first reaction was the "fly backwards into the deep sand until you can't move any more and are basically sitting on your butt". That was fun. Then there's the "fly sideways until you almost get your legs so tangled that you fall over" or the "moving so fast sideways that you almost end up sideways on the ground". But once he got in the waves and I made him stay still, he got used to the feeling of the waves crashing around his legs and we were no longer about to die.

He was actually really fun to ride on the beach. A lot of people are afraid of it because there's so much open space that if your horse wants to run, you can't stop them, but for me I love it. Tux proved to be very adjustable in the trot - we did lots of extended trot and then back to a really bouncy, balanced collected trot. Like I said - dressage horse potential!!! We cantered a bunch and by the end I could almost get him round and he'd move off immediately into the canter when I asked.

He crossed the river with no problem and went up and down the banks quite politely. No launching here (takes too much effort I'm sure). By the end, he was cantering through the waves with no problem! Have I mentioned that I don't want to sell him?

The only "bad" part of the whole day is that we got incredibly lost. I have never, ever gotten that lost at the beach. I mean, usually it's difficult to find the trail through the dunes back to the parking lot, but never that difficult. We went up and down the beach several times looking for it and even went up the dunes a couple times to see if we could see the parking lot. Nothing. Finally we picked a spot and went off roading down the side of the dune and found a trail on the backside. We followed this forever, weaving though all these overgrown bushes and trees, several times having to walk on the very steep edge of a dune when the trail disappeared. It took ages until we finally caught sight of the top of our trailer and got reunited with the trail back to the parking lot. I ended up being super late for dinner, but I was just glad we didn't get stranded on the beach! :)

I did get some pictures, though they aren't that great. But, you'll have to wait for them anyways since I can't find the "special" cord that goes with that specific camera.

Delicious cake one of my roommates made me ♥

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On the Road Again

Wow, I feel like I was on the road all day yesterday. I only have one class in the morning on Mondays, so of course I have to add a ton of stuff to make up for the lack of time I'm spending in class, right? Well I signed up for a lesson with TS. I ended up riding Jazz because it would have been too difficult to bring Jetta down, though I probably would have gotten more out of it if I had. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun.

There were four other ladies that rode plus my neighbor who also rode. She made lunch too so it was kind of a fun "lesson party". I was actually really nervous about riding Jazz because I wanted a lesson in the double bridle and I was afraid that TS would think I was silly for wanting to ride a 22 year old QH in a double, or that Jazz would misbehave. I legitimately had nightmares, lol.

But I didn't need to worry. TS loved Jazz and was very complimentary of her movement, her temperament, her conformation and the shape she was in at her age. Basically she loved her so I was glad! Jazz is one of my babies :) TS actually asked me if Jazz had had any foals and said it was a pity that she didn't since she was such a nice horse - my thoughts exactly! I've always regretted not breeding her because she's got the brains, the beauty, the heart, the temperament and the performance to put into a great foal.

Jazz worked super hard for me though not without some sassiness. Canter transitions are interesting but she improved pretty much immediately once we started the lesson. Trying to make a liar out of me I see :) We played with some shoulder-ins and haunches-in, worked in all the gaits and then worked with some flying changes. Jazz was quite enthusiastic about them, even doing one tempi change when she wasn't supposed to. It was quite entertaining and I was happy with how well she was remembering stuff, if trying a little too hard.

Here are some pictures from yesterday. My mom actually offered to come take pics (!) though unfortunately they didn't turn out as well as Tuxedo's, though still quite awesome.

I think this one is my favorite

Love how uphill she is here

Showing her sassiness with the changes, haha.

After my lesson I went to visit the barn of a woman who wants to lease Jazz. She's pretty much the same situation as her last lessor - an older woman wanting to get back into riding - so of course Jazz will be perfect for her. The barn was cute and tidy so she is going to come pick Jazz up in 2 weeks. So sad! I always have so much fun with her, but I hate her just sitting in the pasture, so as long as she's taken care of properly, I'll be happy.