April 18, 2015

Tired and Matted

Last weekend I purchased 5 new tires for the trailer.  They are Range Load E, Special Trailer tires.  So glad to have shoes that are secure on my trailer.  The other ones were already older when I bought the trailer and you could see a little bit of dry rot as in tiny cracks.

I also got some RV tire covers to keep on the tires when the trailer is not in use.

Today I also picked up three new matts.  These matts will need to be cut for the interior of the trailer of course.  What's neat is they have little nubbies on them to help horses keep traction while being hauled. 


Now if only the windy and rainy weather would cooperate so I can get working with my mare on loading!

April 16, 2015

Missing Lytha

Suddenly I can't access Lytha's blog.  Anyone else having this issue?  I don't think I've ever said anything on her blog comments that would offend.  If so it was not intentional.  I miss hearing about your progress with your mare Lytha!

April 15, 2015

I Want Rhythm

I had the hubby come out to film Dani and I trotting.  I wanted to see if I could determine what I was feeling at the trot.  Sometimes it feels like Dani lurches forward into the trot at the beginning or sometimes in the middle.  I want to work on getting her trot steady, I'm looking for rhythm.

Doing some of this trot work I also noticed she anticipates and even if I just turn her at the walk she'll want to start trotting.  We have to do lots of turns, circles, figure 8's and serpentines to keep the trot from speeding up.  I need to also do that at the walk so she understands it can be at any gait.  Since she hasn't really had formal training most of her life it seems she needs to retaught cues.  I think I have to be overly "dramatic" when I cue to make her understand and then back off.  I also need to correct her firmly if I didn't ask for a trot or movement.  We are getting to some difficult areas, nothing I can't handle but I may want some eyes on the ground at some point to help us through this.

These are two videos filmed early in the 30 minutes we rode.  I was happy that I'm getting the sitting trot to work better and more often.  I still get out of whack and sometimes revert to the posting trot to get back in sync.  I really can't seem to see the speeding up I feel that Dani does, the thing that M says sort of lurches me forwards at times.  I need to keep watching both the regular time and slow-mo.  Perhaps Dani is just changing stride tempo but not really speeding up?  She's certainly not balanced but she's not that fit either.  We need to build her muscles up before I can even really work on collection and I need help with how I'm supposed to eventually teach her that!

In between bouts of trotting we walked and I focused on getting her move where I need her to go.  She often seems to turn her head like she's looking at me and walking with her body crooked.  More to work on.

Most of the time I can get Dani to halt with my seat but she still has a high head when we halt.  Steve caught us in the perfect moment of awkwardness.  At least she was listening and not needing me to pull on the reins to stop.  

I'm not looking for perfection or to make Dani into a dressage horse.  I'm not even trying to get her to the level of Divine (former lesson horse).  I just want a nice relaxing ride where I am in control.  My dream is to ride Dani on trails and have fun with EXCA or trail competitions someday.  I don't think I have the patience, time or knowledge to get a horse to a completely collected level and I really don't want to reach for that.....too boring for me.  Now if I wanted to work on that type of riding I would find a horse that was already trained that way.  I just want to have fun and good communication with my mare.  Piaffes and perfect sidepasses are great but not the be all end all of riding.  Fun and safety are my desire.

Below is another video of us.  It's in regular time and then slow motion.  I try to stay off her mouth but I think some of the bouncing has made me pull more than I should on her mouth at times.  I need to work on more independent hands at the trot.  That's hard when you are tense and working on a million other things! We just need practice.

I feel like we have worked on the trot a little bit in the past but now it's a bigger desire plus we are rusty.  I don't feel as nervous so I can concentrate on what we need to work on rather than making sure I breath and don't freak out.  I think we did pretty well together considering.  We have a long ways to go but I love that she is willing and trying.  It will click for her if I keep working on the trot and stay consistent with my aids.  Also making sure she understands when I'm not asking for the trot.  I need to remember to not concentrate too hard and actually coo to her when she is doing exactly what I want more often.  I try to tell her she's so smart and a good girl, I can always improve on that though.

Steve took a little ride on her after I was done but that didn't last more than a couple minutes since she wasn't listening to his directions and tried to trot a couple times.  The anticipation is something we have to stop, "Horse, this is your Captain speaking!" (Julie Goodnight saying!). Steve needs to do some actual riding but I don't know if Dani is really the horse for him to learn on.  Honestly I don't want to be the one to "teach" him to ride so I think when we get another horse it will have to come with lessons too.  I hopped back on Dani and made sure to get her into a state of listening.  We even worked on some turns on the forehand.  She's maybe at 50% in getting those done well, I'm very happy with the progress there too.

I'll keep working with her.  M is good to ride with since we seem to be on the same page with our desires for riding and some of our struggles.  She even suggested her riding my mare and me riding Scotty sometime.  That could be interesting.  He's such a petite Arab looking Morgan but seems to naturally carry himself well; we'll both be in for a change in ride for sure!  But perhaps with M riding Dani she'll give me some insight into things I could try as I work on these areas with my girl.

Isn't she the cutest little red mare?

April 13, 2015

Trot flag

I did a little bit of ground work with Dani today and played with an Italian flag in the wind.  She didn't seem to have an issue with it.  We'll work more with it attached to her at some point and me carrying it while on her back.

We also worked on the trot some more.  It was rough but it's been over a week since we last worked on it.  Consistency will help, I just need to get my butt up in the mornings early enough to ride the pony and still get home to do all the stuff I need to do at home!  Towards the end I did have a really good sitting trot round of circles.

Steering is still really loosy-goosy when it comes to the trot, another thing to work on.  I felt like I was off her mouth more today though and was working really hard to prevent pulling even when she suddenly decides to lurch into her quick speedy trot.  Overall it was a very good ride with her.  It was a wonderful day outside with just a little bit of wind, nothing like we've had the past couple of days.  This past week I only groomed her or had a farrier appointment when I headed to the barn so it was good to get some ride time.  It's slowly greening up so I'm ready to get that grazing muzzle out soon....ugh.

April 12, 2015

April 02, 2015

Turn that Rear Around

Dani was much calmer when I went out the next time.  I think her issues were with the new horse.  Still I want to get back into regular groundwork with her since it helps us both.  I worked her in the round pen on her long line at the trot.  I've noted that she doesn't turn into me as quickly on her off side so the long line worked well to help me alert her to me signal of stepping and backing.  She got much better.  I'll probably continue this a few times before a full on round pen exercise, I want to instill in her that as soon as I step to the side and back that she is to turn inwards on the circle.

After a about 10 minutes of round pen work I moved onto the turning on the forequarters/disengaging the hindquarters exercise.  The requirement for this exercise was to have her cross her hind leg over her other hind leg and her front inside leg should remain in place, where she just pivots.  We started with one step, then two, then three then four etc.  It went well, I was very please with her.

The next disengaging of the hindquarters exercise is more of a salute.  You make a stalking type circle towards the horses hindquarters and tap with the stick in the air counting 1-4 to make them turn quickly and face you.  The first couple of times you have to whack the horse on the butt at the 4th count to get them to understand.  Then you rub them on the face and butt.  Then you ask again.  Dani learned it quickly at least with minimal whacks on her butt.

The I decide to grab a tumbleweed and attach it to the stick so I could make it "scary" in various places around the round pen.  Nothing phased her!  The tumbleweed crawled up her leg and onto her head.  It wiggled and quickly moved from where it was laying peacefully.  I tried to make it like a darting animal and Dani just blinked.  Really?  Now how am I gonna get her prepared for the real world killer tumbleweed if she doesn't even take this seriously?  

LOL.  Horses!

April 01, 2015

The Tumbleweed, Shadow and Bunny...

It was a slightly breezy day.  I wanted to do a little riding with Dani, not sure what I was going to work on with her.   When at the barn I noticed a new horse.  There was a female Arab named Bella in the pasture that had just arrived about a day ago.  Her owners are from the area but don't have their property horse ready just yet.  Apparently she'd climbed through the fence in the morning to be with Beyjo and cut herself up a little bit.  Her owner was arriving shortly.

Dani was certainly in a more excited mood, perhaps from the new horse.  I rode her on the property but by the fence line near the road.  Dani has been pretty good with traffic driving by.  We stopped near the fence and something caught her eye....was it another tumbleweed?  Was it her shadow?  She tried to wheel away in a shy but I didn't let her get away with it, we faced the area again and we kept walking  by the scariness.  I still have no idea what scared her and she didn't seem to calm down much but at least she didn't try to shy away or bolt.

We rode back to the arena after chatting with the new owners and seeing their horse.  In the arena the same old bunny that darts around was in there and he caused Dani to start again.  Wow.  What's up with this today?  We rode around and I made her do many changes of direction and yielding of the hindquarters.  We kept walking by where the bunny was and at least there weren't any issues with Dani being nervous.  She calmed down and we walked the arena for a bit.  Today was just exciting I guess.  New horse, exciting event of her climbing the fence into the pasture and then Beyjo neighing his head off while her new owners took care of her injuries.

After the ride I decided it would be best to do some groundwork next time I was out.  I also want to do some more desensitizing.  I wish I knew what things, aside from the darting bunny, were causing her concern.  We'll have scarier things that she gets exposed to in the future so I want to make sure that we are well prepared!

March 28, 2015

Great Ride with M and Scotty

It was such a gorgeous day today!  M and I planned on going for a ride so I made certain to get out of bed early enough.  I skipped coffee which I shouldn't have since I later while going home noticed a slight head ache...nothing bad but I should take chances like that!

When I got to the barn Dani was munching away on her feed.  I grabbed on of my larger buckets from the trailer and filled it up with her hay so she could munch while getting groomed.  We started in the round pen doing some trotting to warm up and then canter.  I had her turn many times and she was really good her off side but not on the near side.  I would have to back much more quickly and for longer to get her to turn into the center.  Even so she was in a good frame of mind and listening pretty well so I didn't need to get any silliness out of her.

I headed to the trailer with her, my stick and a manure fork.  All of that in my hand made it hard to move her correctly and she took advantage walking well ahead of me.  Note to self, second trip to grab the manure fork won't kill me.  I tied her long to the trailer so she could get her hay and headed up to fill a bucket for water.  I never have labeled my buckets as food or water and I should.  I now have a stainless steel bucket that will be used for washing or veterinary washing (i.e. iodine etc).  I held the water up to her and she took a few long swigs.  I'm very happy she drinks well, hopefully that will continue in strange places but I figure I can try out the Gatorade method and add that to "strange" water if I ever have an issue.  I praised her.

I started currying, then the flick brush and brushed out her mane.  I'd applied the Manely Long Hair slicker on Thursday so all of it was absorbed by now but I still felt that there was a bit of residue; the product says there shouldn't be any.  The hair was easy to brush through but it felt stiffer than the silky smooth I really want to achieve.  Perhaps she just needs a good bath soon.  M headed to the grassy arena to grab Scotty and Prince as they were grazing.  Prince decided to be a pill and gallop around the arena like a bat out of hell.  The little mini was so freaking cute flying around, even though M was a bit ticked she still thought he was a darling.  I asked her if she needed help but she did eventually catch him and then borrowed a long line of mine to work him a bit.

With Scotty and the Prince captured she got Scotty ready for our ride.  I finished Dani and walked her up to the mounting block.  With a last tightening of the cinch I got up on my mare.  I'm guessing from the excitement she moved off a without my asking.  She's been really good about standing still after mounting and staying quiet.  Anyways, M and I head to down the driveway to cross the road and ride around the High School.  Dani was bad and didn't want to stop at the road so I had to circle her.  Again, I think it's the excitement of another horse.  She'll learn that she has to listen to me even when there are other ponies around.

We walked up the path to the sandy area behind the school.  It makes for good footing so M and I played around with turns on the forehand, moving over the shoulders, and then some trotting with Dani.  I couldn't quite count out the 1, 2, 1, 2 in a fashion that helped with slowing Dani's trot at M's suggestion but if I concentrated on my breathing it did help some.  It will just take time but I was happy that my girl had calmed down a bit and wasn't so rearing to go with there being another horse.

We decided to finish the loop around the school.  It was uneventful.  Even with the barking dogs in a house just off the trail Dani didn't even blink.  She was very interested in a bull in the neighboring field so I had her move to the right and then the left....not really a leg yield since we aren't good at those but a diagonal move that got her thinking about something else.  

I can tell when she is interested in things outside the ride and perhaps those are the best times to get her back to thinking about me to prevent a spook.  She was good though.  Nothing seemed to bother her.  I rode her some behind Scotty, some in front of him and some right next to him.  Aside from a couple times pinning her ears she was perfect.  She never tried to bite or kick; expressing her CMS (chestnut mare syndrome) is mostly acceptable within certain boundaries.  She still has a pretty forward walk and I find it easier with her ahead of Scotty but she needs to learn to walk behind other horses and match their pace and I don't want to constantly pull on her.  I worked with Julie Goodnight's instructions of pulling up rather firmly and when she walks nicely to very fully release the reins dramatically and let her have a really loose rein.  This advice is more for jigging which we didn't have much of but seemed to work okay for the couple of times we used it on the ride.  Again, like the trot, it will come with time and consistency.

I was pretty tired after my ride, I could feel it in my seat and legs.  M and I had a great time though so I look forward to future rides and hopefully some trailering to some trails off site.  We said our goodbyes after the horses were groomed and brought back to their pastures.  Dani finished her breakfast, took a long drink of water and was back with her pony friends.  It was a great day for a ride.  Tomorrow I can hopefully get some arena work in with the mare, probably a shorter ride though because unfortunately I have other responsibilities besides miss Daenerys.... :-(

I'm sure you all are wondering what the boot pictures are on this page.  Well I have been wanting some boots I can wear elsewhere and not have manure on them.  These will be my "anywhere but the barn" boots.  I think a girl deserves a pair of those.  I have so many "barn" shoes that I'd like to have one pair that doesn't get worn out by mud and muck!  I just had them arrive today and I'm already in love!  Anyhow, happy riding!

March 27, 2015

Tufts and Slickers

I've had some busy days at work and not been able to go out to the barn much this week.  I have the goal that I should go Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Then the other days I should drag myself to the gym! 

This Thursday I actually ended a training early so I headed to the barn.  On the way out my enthusiasm declined as my stomach started to not feel very well.  Once I arrived I decided it would just be a grooming day.  Sometimes that's all I want to do.  It's never just to get Daenerys pretty but to check her out and relax a bit.  It's a form of therapy.  She's still shedding a ton but it's funny when I look at her and some areas are nearly smooth while others are desperately clinging to her in fuzzy tufts.

I got to chat with both N and M; lol sounds like Eminem!  They both had read my blog and enjoyed it so that made me glow a bit.  I received more Manely-Long Hair in the mail so applied the last of my bottle to her mane.  It keeps the tangles out and helps with her wavy hair staying a little slick which I'm happy with but not so sure about there not being any build-up.  I'll use it more diligently before I give it a final rating.

I played a little with Dani before getting her back to her pasture.  I would love to get her backing like David did with his horses; he would back them to their stalls or to the arena and they were quick to respond.  It was a great exercise in control and leadership.  I still get very slow and lazy movement from Dani but I haven't really spent real time on the Clinton Anderson method of teaching her to back.  Time to dust off those DVD's huh?

M played with Dani a little bit too, doing a backwards marching while leading her to get her out of her space.  It was cute.  I love that we both have our cute Morgan ponies. We plan to ride Saturday and then maybe go look at Equiline for a used Western saddle for her and Scotty.  The weather should be fantastic this weekend!

March 23, 2015

I Rode Dani at the Canter....

well.....not intentionally.  We were working on the trot and at one point I think Dani was sick of her fast trot that she went into the canter for a 6 strides before I got her back to a trot.  At least I know her canter is smooth to ride.  Still BAD GIRL!!!  

Saturday was a day of working on the trot.  I did more lengthy bouts of trotting.  We worked pretty hard and then went to ride across the street at the school for a short cool down.  It was a tiring day but Dani and I did pretty good even if I felt frustrated at times.

Sunday I worked on more transitions with short bouts and slowing her to a walk when she sped up.  We also changed directions when she sped up.  I found it most helpful to do patterns like loose figure eights or serpentines.  The trot was much nicer that way.  We'll get there.  I also worked on making my posting less BIG.  That may be encouraging her to trot faster.  We'll have to see what works best in the long run and just keep trying.  It's always trial and error.

We kept it shorter today since I know she's not in the best shape and I don't want to be a drill sargeant.  We ended on a good note and then went for a ride around the property.  Dani was nervous with the wind in the pines but I moved her on with a pat and reassurance.

What the posts used to look like in the corner

The next terrorizing thing was what....a newer wood post.  Really?  I couldn't for the life of me determine what got her shaking so much.  She stopped several times and stared about 20 meters away.  Then she actually spun away.  I turned her hard back to the scary object.  She tried to move away again but I encouraged her forward.  I was a little shaken myself since she was so shaky and we were confined between rows of wire fencing.  What in the world my dear?  I quickly dismounted and led her up to the threatening post.  Eventually she breathed deep and started to graze.  I let her for a moment, then I got back on and continued down the trail.  We turned around after about 10 meters  and walked past the scary object....I want to say 6-7 times.  I knew she was getting bored and antsy to move on down the trail but back and forth, from both directions and from the area of her first scare, we walked and walked.  I decided to also bring her back past the scary pine trees.  She was fine.  Sometimes I just have no idea what horses see in their minds but the post is my only guess as to what caused her issue, we've walked past that corner MANY times.  Perhaps the trapped tumbleweed  looked like a monster but she sees both those things every day of her life!

What the new wood posts look like now, these are not actual pictures of the site
just an example.

Great article on how to work with a spooking horse  I feel we addressed it well enough.  Hopefully I can gain more courage to stay on but I felt it was best to just do it from the ground this time until she was relaxed and then ride her back and forth by the scary monster.

How silly ponies can be!