Saturday, July 30, 2016

MOAR TRAILS

I'm so happy that Jetta is such a good trail horse because I absolutely love being outside and not just in an arena constantly.

So pretty
This week's adventure was to one of my favorites, Willamette Mission State Park. It's definitely a haul, but I think it's worth the occasional trip.

We've had some really great rides (which I'll write up soon!) so it was nice to give Jetta and myself a mental break to go exploring. It was supposed to be a really hot day, but we got there early enough that it wasn't too awful.

There was absolutely no one on the trails. I didn't see a single person walking, biking or riding. It was great!

I was going to do 2 loops of the park (there's one main loop with two different ways to get back to the river) but it was pretty hot so I decided on just one loop, albeit the long way. We went about 7.3 miles in an hour and a half. It was fun!

Model status
The focus was to get Jetta going along on a nice loose rein. If she had a nice trot or canter I wouldn't bother her, but if she got going too strong, then I'd half halt her until she came back to a nice pace. She was really good, we cantered all the way around the big field even with the tractor harvesting. She didn't even spook when the tractor had to change direction by coming onto the trail directly at her! Such a good pony.

I got to test out a new tack item too... I got a PS of Sweden running martingale attachment. I think the snaps are seriously the greatest invention ever, I hate taking apart reins to put them through the rings so I was super excited for them. The attachment is a touch short for my taste, but it provides good control for when Jetta gets a little too strong on the trails. I love them! Personally I like the blue because it's "our color" though I did already have someone tell me it "looked ghetto to have carabiner clips for a martingale"... oh well.

See the new clippies!

And of course the icing on the cake with this trail is at the end, you can ride into the river to cool off!

Apparently Jetta is a hippo and had a lot of fun sticking her nose underwater and blowing bubbles.

video


Once we got back and I was untacking, a lady and her daughter were checking out the park map by the trailer parking and came over. Her daughter had an apple that she wanted to give Jetta. Jetta took it so carefully, it was adorable.

Overall, I think it was the best part of my week!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jetta Jumps!

I don't know why I love this picture so much, but I really do!

I actually got to jump Jetta for the first time in forever! My friend at the barn who owns Dundee told me that she was going to set up some gymnastics if I wanted to join and I couldn't pass that offer up! I was pretty worried that Jetta would be awful, but I figured we couldn't go wrong with some gymnastics. Of course when I got to the barn it was super busy and in addition to not being able to find my lunge line, all the lunging areas were taken.

Jetta warmed up extremely spooky. Not that I could really blame her though. There was a horse being worked with on opening a gate so the gate was clanging, the horse was dancing around whinnying for it's buddy who was just outside the gate and the owner yelling at the horse. Then there was the horses being brought inside, the little kids running down the aisle... So I couldn't really blame Jetta a whole lot.  

Warming up I just focused on doing a lot of half halts and if she didn't do them, then we'd halt and back up before going back to whatever gait we were in. This helped tremendously. I was worried she would try to refuse the jumps since we haven't jumped in like... a year or two? But she was game. We just needed to work on not rushing the jumps. Originally we started out with two trot poles to two tiny little fences, then just gradually kept bumping things up. 

After halting Jetta a couple times in front of the trot poles I finally got her to listen to my half halts in front of the line of jumps so she didn't rush... but we still had to deal with her rushing after the jumps. 

Knees
I feel like I'm learning how to ride all over again almost! Misty was so different - it was all about riding Misty forward, forward, forward where as with Jetta is a balancing act in getting her to not rush and not be on her forehand. 

That hind end though

Finally once Jetta took off bucking after the last fence (once it got raised way up - Jetta was so proud of herself for clearing it) I told MS's roommate who was graciously helping us, to yell at me to sit up before I went over the last jump. That helped immensely. I just kinda want to curl in the fetal position and let Jetta take me over the jumps, but that's not really going to work. I needed to sit up and give her a strong half-halt before that last jump so she wouldn't take off. After going through the line cleanly without taking off, I called it quits. That last jump looked HUGE to me, even though it probably wasn't all that big. I'm hoping it was 3' but now that I look at the videos it really just looks like it was barely 2'9". Oh well. I was proud of the monster pony!

I really need to work on my leg position, I probably should shorten my stirrups a bit to help with that! 

Videos got in a weird order. The 1st and last are of the smaller jump, the 2nd and 3rd are the large jump, with the 2nd video being the one she took off bucking over, and the 3rd is the one she jumped well and we called it quits on.

video 

  video
video
video


Friday, July 15, 2016

Trail Ride Extravaganza


It's been a great week for trail rides! On Monday after work, I went on a ride with my vet friend/roommate and her husband. It was really fun and a great way to end the day. I haven't been on a trail ride with another person in a really long time. I really like the solitude and the ability to go my own speed, but on the other hand, a group is really fun!

Jetta was super good and it made me really appreciate her since she hadn't been ridden in 5 days. She loaded perfectly into an unfamiliar trailer (that seriously had a huge step up, at least twice as tall as my trailer!). She stood tied perfectly for getting tacked up and her hoof boots on. She was just great. KP rode her horse Rep and DG rode his mountain bike and we took all three dogs.


Dogs in background
Rep looking handsome
It was super nice to go on the trails with someone who actually knew them really well. I just sort of wander around until I find a trail system I like, then I just always stick with that one. So it was awesome to find a nice loop (albeit with awfully sized gravel, but that's what hoof boots are for!). They've lived in the area for over 15 years and DG does a lot of mountain biking so he even knows all the names for the forest service roads.





Then we had a really super awesome arena ride on Wednesday. I decided that since Jetta's been so good lately, it really is time we step up our game and actually start working on stuff. So we warmed up at the walk with some shoulder-in and leg yields. She was pretty dull to my aids, but still did as I asked, though I did have to get after her a little more than I'm used to. I was expecting some of the same dullness in the trot, but instead she was right on the ball and did everything I asked with just the right amount of aid. I was impressed! Finished up with some shallow canter serpentines and went for a walk in the outdoor. She's looking pretty good right now besides being a bit chunky!



And then yesterday we got to go on another trail ride with a classmate who boards her new horse Dundee at the same barn! He needs to build up some muscles so we tackled the big hill to work on those butt muscles.

Both horses were great, but especially Dundee since he hadn't really ever trail ridden before! The mountain bikers didn't phase either of the horses and they were on their best behavior. Mostly. There were a couple hairy eyeballs at some logs and a couple times Jetta refused to do some silly things - like cross the bridge she's crossed at least a 100 time before - so Dundee bravely went first without batting an eye.

We went for a super long ride, I think around 8 miles? all the way to Dimple Hill which is one of my favorite lookout points. Not bad at all!





Jetta and her other boyfriend Dundee

Friday, July 8, 2016

Teeth Day and Craftiness


Jetta got her teeth done last weekend. The great part of having an awesome vet and being a vet student? I got to do them myself!

I was prepared to feel like a terrible horse mom. It's been three years since her teeth have been done... I felt bad. But, surprisingly her teeth didn't look bad at all. She had some points and a little bit of uneveness to level out, but really her teeth were fine. It was surprising, especially since we did 2 other horses first. The first one, a 9 year old TB, hadn't been done in 2 years and she was definitely due. Her points were starting to cause ulcers on her cheeks and she had a bit of a wave mouth going on. The second horse was a 20 year old WB who was just done last year. His bottom teeth were done growing out and were pretty worn down, plus he had a parrot mouth so he had a large hook on the 106/206 premolar and a corresponding large hook on the lower back molar 411/311.



Jetta was pretty badly behaved though. She took the max amount of drugs and was still bopping her head around, making it difficult for me. This is the second dental that I've done, so I still really feel the need to see what I'm doing instead of just being able to feel it. It's hard to see with my tiny little head lamp when your horse is moving its head every which way!

But I got it done. I did a very nice bit seat too, if I do say so myself. I just need lots of practice, which I think if KP keeps letting me help, by the time I get to 3rd year and actually get to do this at school I'll almost be a pro!

Poor Jetta was so drunk afterwards. I had myself a laugh at her expense.


Zero response while the neighbor horse gallops back and forth

So drunk

She had a few days off for the 4th of July weekend and then I lunged her on Wednesday and rode her on Tuesday. She's still being so good! I'm still blown away. We had a short ride because she was just being awesome, so I think our next arena ride we will have to actually get to work on some real stuff, not just walk-trot-cantering around. I'm excited.

Unfortunately we didn't get into the show this weekend. I'm pretty bummed about it, since Jetta's been so good. But oh well. We'll just go on a trail ride instead.

And lastly, I decided to make Misty a shadow box. I got a 20x20" for a great deal and put my 2 favorite pictures of her (well minus one that I'm going to get printed large), plus most of her ribbons (except a couple blues that I have out displayed elsewhere) and her nameplate from the barn.

I think it turned out pretty well!