Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pony torture (aka grid jumping)

Poor Misty-moo. I still haven't had much time to ride her, but I'm really going to aim for consistently riding at least twice a week. I need to make time for that because I feel so much better after a ride!

Misty had an interested buyer come down for the second time to ride her. Sadly, they still haven't gotten back to me so I think it's a no-go. She wasn't super good jumping for the girl (though she was super good on the flat, I was impressed. Spurs might have helped a lot in that...). Besides the interested buyer jumping her, she hasn't been jumped in a long time... Since November probably when we went to that show. So I'm not surprised she was sticky about jumping the terrifying barrels with the prospective buyer, and if you accidentally hit her in the mouth just once (heaven forbid) then she bunny hops the next several times, afraid that she's going to get hit in the mouth again. She finished out good, but she had to be ridden on a loose rein and the girl was used to her pony taking off after a jump. Ha, that would NEVER be a problem with Misty.

So I decided I needed to jump Misty more, since I am selling her as a jumping horse. She just needs more miles and she'll be fantastic. I've been told by multiple trainers that "I ride like a trainer, so I need to ride my sale horses more like a beginner" meaning I need to do less "helping" the horse and more sitting back and letting them make the mistakes so I can correct them and hopefully eliminate those mistakes (you know, real training).

Right now, that means getting Misty to need less leg to a jump. She needs a ton of leg in jumping. Which is fine with me, I'm used to horses needing leg (except Jetta) so I've got that part covered. But a junior rider isn't going to want (or possibly even be able) to give her as much leg as I do.

So I set up a grid. I've never jumped her through a grid, though I'm sure her lessor did over the summer. Lines are one of the hardest things for Misty. She sees the second jump and gets distracted by it so she wiggles her way up to the first jump, lands crooked and wiggles to the second jump. I'm hoping grids are going to help with that straightness and hesitation.

Four jumps (including the scary barrels) with the last fence set at 2'6" and the first cavaletti was set low so I could trot her in the first couple times. All the fences were set at a single stride, I think next time I'll set it with some single and some two stride fences. And bump up the last fence to a 3'.

The first couple times in you would think Misty had never seen a jump before. But once she got a good look at the barrels she decided it was fine and could jump everything. I was glad I put wings on the barrels because she almost decided to go around them a couple times, then decided she'd have to jump the wings anyways, so she might as well just jump the barrels. She still needed a lot of leg, but by the end she was really keeping a nice pace, not looking at the jumps and getting those one strides perfectly. She has a really short stride so you definitely need to keep a more forward pace to make her fit those strides (I think I even set the strides shorter for her).

Overall, a really good ride that I need to do more!

And some more cute pictures from when Misty decided that the flag in the corner was terrifying so we had to do some desensitization:

"Ok, this isn't actually that scary"

So much pony torture

Her face after playing with the flag. Poor thing.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Scattered post

I had high hopes for blogging more over winter break, but failed sadly. Nothing was too interesting around here though. I go back to school today tomorrow (ice day today!) I'm slightly nervous for the new term since there will be four "real" classes this term instead of three.

The ponies have been good though. Misty has been getting more attention as usual. We're still playing with western, and I finally put the curb bridle on her. My original one walked away (which is beyond annoying, but at least is was my "cheap" set up). I rebuilt the bridle mostly from extra pieces I had around, except for buying a new set of reins. She was really good in the curb bridle, but needs a tad bit of work on neck reining as she's a little rusty.

Cutest western pony ever

We've been working on flying changes, which we put on a back burner for a while. She's rougher from left to right and had lots of bucks and opinions to say on that flying change. The first time through she wouldn't change behind and was being altogether much too sassy, so she got in trouble. Then she was kind of like "oh, I guess I can't do that" and was much more polite and on time for her changes. We did serpentines where sometimes we'd do a simple canter-trot-canter change, or a canter-walk-canter change or even a canter-halt-canter change or a flying change. That way she won't anticipate anything and will be listening for what I want. It's a fun exercise, at least I think, I'm sure Misty doesn't agree.

I am hoping that this year I will blog more. I'll definitely be busier than ever, but I miss blogging! I have a few blogs in the works, including some reviews. I got some Ariat denim breeches (and tall boots!) as a birthday gift to myself, so I need to review those. And some new clippers for Christmas, which I can't wait to try out.

Before I got my gift clippers, I used my roommate's to do a trim on the ponies. They were looking rough. I decided not to do any body clips since I haven't been riding much. They just got their socks, beards, muzzles and bridle paths clipped. Or in Jetta's case I roached her mane again. It was getting much too long for my tastes, since with Jetta long = mega thick. I could double running braid her mane like a cob or spanish breed or something.

Jetta's looking good! I cut almost 5 inches off her tail...

The horse's got their Christmas bran mash. I decided to do something different this year, as usually I buy some wheat bran and make their bran mash at home. This year I found some pre-made bran mash which sounded cool so I just got that. Less mess! You just add hot water to the bag, it ziplocs shut and then dump it in their feed bin, perfect!

Ingredients: Wheat Bran, Barley, Cane Molasses, Dehydrated Carrots, Peppermints, Soybean Meal, Peppermint Leaf, Cinnamon and Chamomile.

I would definitely recommend it. Both horses loved it and it just makes me feel good to give them a nice warm treat on a cold day.

And the latest dilemma... I'm still drooling over a PS of Sweden bridle (thanks to certain other bloggers... who know who you are). I was hoping they'd have a holiday sale at some point, but to no avail. I got Christmas money to use to buy one bridle. The only problem is that I want two. I need some votes on which one to get!

I only have one black bridle, so it'd be nice to get a second one for schooling. I love both the Jump Off and the Get Set, but can't decide. Thoughts?
I'd love to get Misty the Jump Off in black to replace the Micklem bridle we ride in
Or, I want to get Jetta the Get Set bridle in black