December 28, 2010

Arabian Legends

I don't plan on breeding any of my future horses, I'll leave that to the experts.  If I'm really interested in something, like Arabian horses, I like to know all about the subject.  I just recieved this book called Arabian Legends.  It has histories and information about some of the top legendary sires and a few mares.  Aladdin, Khemosabi, Bask, Bay el Bey, Padron and Muscat to name a few!  It's great to learn about the horses and then when I see a horse online I can view the pedigree and know a little bit more about them!  How cool is that!  No matter the breeding though, I want to find a horse I bond with and is right for what I want to do.  He can be from Billy Bob's backyard breeding or a top bred horse with a loaded long as he's healthy!

December 26, 2010

Poop and Mud

I arrived around 11am to see Willy.  One of the dogs came running up the driveway to greet me.  I don't know any of the dog or cats names, they are all just kitty and puppy to me.  I opened up my car to get my tack out, in popped the little tabby cat (the one whose tail had been stepped on by Riddle).  After I got my gear out I asked the kitty to get out of the car but he didn't want to.  So I put down the saddle and reached in to get him.  He cuddled up against my neck, dug his claws into my fleece and gave me a give kitty hug complete with purrs.  Right then Lorraine got out of her car, laughing at me and cat.  We exchanged niceties about Christmas but then she went on her way to quickly take care of her Friesians and then get back to family.

Willy had mud on his face and forelock when I went to get him.  It took me a bit to get him cleaned up but having baby wipes with me are always handy!  Willy seemed more cuddly today, he nuzzled me a couple times but I'm sure it was his way of looking for carrots...quickest way to a mans heart, no matter the species!  I brought Willy into the big arena.  He tried to walk off as I put my foot in the stirrup so I moved him around in a tight circle.  Willy sighed and grunted a bit.  Then I stopped him, got him set up for the mount and went up.  He still took a couple steps but stopped when I told him whoa...he's slowly getting better. 

I worked on the usual serpentines at the walk.  Did a figure eight at the posting trot and also tried some canters in each direction.  The left lead seemed better than the right.  He wanted to rush during the right canter lead.  Again when we cantered I concentrated on relaxing and moving with the was awesome and he was a good boy for the most part.  Canter is my favorite gait!  I worked on some sitting trot and asking for Willy to lower his head.  He did it a little bit, not as much as when we are just walking but I was content anyways.

I dismounted and then took Willy outside of the ring.  I was just going to ride around the outside of the ring for a bit since I was done with circles, figure eights and serpentines for today.  Plus I knew the girl who rode Ladybug, a beautiful liver chestnut mare would be ready soon and she does jumping in the arena.

I worked on Willy trotting around the ring and keeping his pace down to a nice trot instead of the quickened fast pace trot that is jarring to ride.  We also cantered up the hills on each side of the ring.  I had a great ride with him. 

When I was done I untacked Willy at the wash racks that were full of manure.  I grabbed a pitch fork and wheel barrow to clean that up.  I'll have to send a message to Susan since she had talked to all the riders to make sure we were cleaning up after our horses.  The big arena was a mess and the wash racks were disgusting with manure.  I was the first one of the leasers that I know of on Sunday so I know it wasn't any of us!  I brought Willy to his stall and then started working on mucking.  He and Two Socks were joined with Misty in their small paddock.  It didn't look like anything had been mucked on Christmas day.  The girl and her father who leased Misty on Sundays arrived so her dad joined me in finishing up the stall.  Three wheel barrow loads later we were done and the ground could be seen again.  I came back with carrots for Willy and Two Socks.  I said my goodbyes and then of course paid my dues of carrots to the cute miniature horses.  Perhaps when my schedule gets changed in April I can come ride Willy a couple times during the week, I'll have to talk to Susan about that option.  Until next Sunday!

December 24, 2010

All I want for Christmas is an Arabian horse (aka pony!)

My all time favorite horse color is Chestnut with a decent amount of chrome.  A stripe or blaze on the nose is perfect and a few socks are great.  Below are internet pics of chestnust Arabians, some were on at one time or another.  I'm silly and browse that site regularly, dreaming away about the day I can finally call up the owners and say "Hey I'm interested and would like to come out and meet your horse".  Of course I'm even more excited about saying "I'll take him/her!"

Illusions Farm sabino Arabian gelding for sale.  How flashy is he!!
 Such soft eyes.  I can stare into a horses eyes all day.  Chestnuts are neat in that some have a flaxen mane.  Some are red as fire.  Yet some can be dark and almost like a chocolate (liver chestnut).  All are beautiful!

 I would call him Wind Fire or Al Hawa Laheeb in Arabic! 

But of course I can't choose a horse by the color.  I love blacks, and bays too.  Greys are pretty but the work to keep them looking clean is so hard!  At least with darker horses if you don't get all the dirt it sort of blends in with the coat!  I dream of the day when I can find a horse that will place their muzzle in my hands and say take me home, I'll be your friend for life.
 A part bred Arab I would have no problems considering would be a palomino.  I still want a purebred but if the palomino wins over my heart I won't look back!
 A black....yes we all have that dream.  The Black Stallion!  But I'll take a mare or gelding.
If only greys stayed this dark grey!  Love the dapples!

But most grey out to need lots of bleach for this horse!  I know there are tons of products out there to help keep the horse looking presentable, I won't pass up an awesome horse just because they're grey.  Just letting you know!  A good horse is never a bad color!

And no matter what amazing color they are or what fine pedigree they may have (this mare from Illusion Farms is a grand daughter of Khemosabi++++) they are still a horse that needs love and attention and will be my partner on the trails.  I can't wait to snuggle up against the neck of my very own pony!  Hope Santa is reading this!  Happy Holidays everyone!

December 19, 2010

After the fall....

This weekend was icky for weather.  Friday was cold and I didn't ride....I know, I'm a wus!  I have winter riding pants and boots on my Christmas list though!  I want to get all the gear I need to ride no matter the weather.  Then Saturday it was icky but the day got warmer and sunny around the time I would have been out riding...darn it, I should have gone!

Sunday, today, was beautiful.  I went to see Willy.  We approached me and nuzzled my hand as I came up to him.  What a sweet boy!  He didn't mean to take off on my last week now did he!  I brought him out to tack him up, first removing his blanket.  The blanket he wears is not thick, it actually reminds me of a shell people wear while skiing.  He was a little sweaty underneath and I question the need for the blanket except maybe at night or during a really cold day, he has a nice fluffy winter coat.  I need to learn more about when to blanket and when not to.  The area I was tacking him was again left a mess, piles of manure that I cleaned up before I even got to grooming Willy. 
I've been wondering if I need a wider bit for Willy...what do you think?
Then I got him groomed up and tacked and headed to the arena.  There was a grey mare in there since he owners were here mucking her stall.  It was pretty busy at the stable today, several mothers with their daughters doing horsie stuff.  What fun!  I mounted up outside the arena, my first attempt Willy moved around in a circle so I got down and continued moving him around in a tight circle.  Then I made him stand and mounted up, once on he moved off without me asking so I stopped him and stood for a bit.  I need to get a game plan for this, I'll have to ask Laurie what is the best way to handle his moving on while I try to mount.  Most times I've been fine and able to stay balanced but what  nuisance, some day I could get hurt by it.

I rode Willy around the outside of the ring and then noticed a little girl on a grey loping up to us, she asked if she could join us.  What could I say?  We rode around the arena, walks, trots and a little bit of cantering.  She went on about how she used to ride Willy but then didn't want to anymore, she likes Misty and rides her.  She loved to canter and asked if I wanted to race, I don't think that is such a good idea I said.  Eventually her mom got her and I guess took her back to her sister to have her help take up their mare. 

I went into the arena and did some walk, trot and canter transistions with Willy.  I got a few nice canters where the gait was nice and smooth and I was relaxed and following Willy's back with ease.  It felt great!  I still worked on getting his head down at the walk.  It didn't work so well at the trot, I'll have to do some more lunging to work on that. 

After the riding was done and I'd put Willy back I went to go pick up some of his piles that he'd created.  While backing out the wheel barrow I got tangled in another and completely fell over, flailing about.  The mothers all got up and asked if I was okay.  I said I was, bright red, and that I was more embarrassed than anything else.  Oh my gosh!  I am such a clutz!  Later I fed Willy, Two Socks and the two Mini's some carrots and said my goodbyes.  Nice day all in all!

December 13, 2010

A flying horse and a flying rider

Well I fell today.  4th time falling from a horse.  Falls are inevitable for every rider. 

Anyways, the day was quiet when I arrived.  I got Willy in his cute blanket and brought him into the indoor arena.  I groomed him up and got his tack on.  I rode him around the yard a little bit and then headed to the drive to set out on a "trail ride" in the neighborhood.  Willy felt pretty spunky and broke into a trot without me asking as we turned onto Eggar Road.  I brought him back to a walk and then later asked him to trot.  He trotted a bit with me working hard trying to keep him at a nice pace.  He always starts out nice and those goes really fast into a short choppy trot that is torture to sit and difficult to post.  I brought him down to a nicer trot and then to a walk.  I decided not to do much else but walk until we came down the second culdesac.  Then I asked him for a trot and then a canter.  We cantered up the hill but Willy didn't respond when I asked for a slower pace, he was galloping.  I could see the shadow of us on the ground, Willy's nose was to the wind and his legs were picking up more and more speed.  I finally slowed him back to a walk.

We walked some more and I decided to ask for the canter again and work harder at keeping the pace nice...big mistake.  Willy took off again, I tried to sit deep, lost my stirrups and kept asking him to stop, verbally and non verbally.  He wanted to run and didn't pay any attention to the bug on his back.  Why I didn't think to pull him to the side with one rein, the one rein stop I don't know.  Finally I leaned forward in an effort to grab his neck...I'm assuming, I have no idea what was going on in my mind.  Off I went plummeting in front of him and rolling on the gravel road about 6 feet ahead.  I barely came to a stop when I jumped back up and towards him to grab ahold of the reins.  He was at a dead stop and looking at me like "Why are you on the ground?".  I stood for a few minutes with him catching my breathe and assessing my injuries.  I knew I'd feel it later since there was still too much adrenaline in my body to sense much pain.  My left knee area hurt and my right ankle but nothing was broken.  I mounted up and walked...rather "jigged" Willy back to the stable.  He sure was feeling his oats today!

I rode him around the yard for a bit once I got back.  I asked for stops, trots, stops etc.  I figure I need to get back to basics with Willy and figure out why he ran off like that.  Why didn't he listen to my whoas and the reins?  I'll do some groundwork and basic ring stuff for a while to gain some understanding and respect where he is concerned.

Willy has had a few issues that need to be fixed, not sure what I can do with riding him only once a week.  He is very hard to stop, even at a walk.  When I get ready to mount, by putting my foot in the stirrup he immediately starts walking forward in a circle with me at the pivot point.  He'll walk on without a cue from me and he doesn't collect.  Keeping him at a nice trot pace is hard, he always wants to go really fast and do short choppy steps.  I have a lot to work on him so I think I'll be staying in the arenas for a while with an occasional walk only trail ride.  If he was my horse he would have been at my trainers long ago so Laurie could help us work this out.  Willy is a good horse and very sweet, I have no idea where his spunky attitude came from today.  As always I want this experience to help me grow as a rider, and I want to learn to ride the canter and gallop better!  My rear hurts!  LOL

December 11, 2010

Lull in riding followed by double lessons

I didn't ride for a period in November, there was a break-out of meningitis in Fort Collins so my Emergency Preparedness team had to coordinate our health department volunteers to go up and help at the POD's (point of dispensing, aka shot clinics).  Anyways I had to cancel some of my Friday lessons and then on some Sundays I was way too tired or out of town that weekend so I couldn't see Willy.
Willy's fuzzy and sweaty coat all ruffled up!
I saw Willy during a Thursday before leaving for Thanksgiving break.  He looked cute in his blanket!  We did some trail riding in the neighborhood.  Only thing to report that was annoying was that I was tacking him up in the indoor arena and Susan comes in and demands I tack elsewhere so she can bring a horse in there.  The other arena's and round pen were wide open, not sure why she had to have the indoor arena.  Anyways I went to move Willy and then came back to get my supplies but she already had the horse in there galloping inconsiderate, I had to reach quickly through the fence polls when the horse was on the other side to get my gear.  This woman just amazes me at her rudeness!

The most recent ride I had with Willy I was working on getting a nice consistent trot out of him.  Susan had mentioned I should use a martingale to help with h  is head carriage issues but I disagree I'd rather do some real work with him rather than use a tool that he could brace against and not learn anything.  I pressed him forwards up into my hands and did the half halt, one two, one two on his mouth...rewarding when he put his head down.  I was impressed and decided I would not buy a martingale but a surcingle with side reins instead to start working on him.  I have no idea what I can do with only seeing him once a week but I'll try what I can.  As I was in my car just about ready to pull out the little gray tabby kitten jumped up on my car!  I was imprisoned in my car by a panther!  Hehehehe!

I then had a lesson on Divine and a lesson lunging Gadiel, Lauries big dapple grey stallion.  That was fun!  It was a bit unnerving lunging a stallion especially one that knows to rear on cue, I was afraid of doing the wrong thing and accidentally asking him to rear.  Several times when he faced me in the ring I felt like the snake on the island in the Black Stallion must of felt, a little helpless!  But it was fun to work on the lunging again and to see Gadiel with all his power trot and canter around me!

My latest lesson with Divine was a almost perfect.  I did walks and trots, working on my seat.  Laurie has had me sit more on my crotch since I tend to sit a bit back and that restricts the movement of my lower back.  I could feel the difference for sure.  So I worked on Divine and did figure eights, halts, sitting trot and a little posting trot while trying to keep her collected and my seat in this better position.  It felt great!  I felt I did really well and Laurie said I did awesome...that I next leveled!  Sweet!  I don't really want to ever show but at the same time getting judged can sometimes help one set goals.  I know with my future horse I'll have me and the horse to continue with training.  What fun!  Still trail rides and gallops in the open fields is what I ride for...feeling the wind in my hair and the strong muscles below my seat that respond to my cues.  What a great day riding!

I wish I could buy one of Lauries horses right now, I know Eksodus is pretty nippy with me and Laurie says that would go away if he was gelded.  Plus I need to learn how to deal with that, I've never had to!  Pstar is still my favorite mare but Laurie was honest that she wouldn't be the best choice for my trail riding/endurance goals.  I wonder about Psylk though, Laurie bred her specifically for breeding to Gadiel but I love her laid back personality.  I have to keep reminding myself that my horse will come...maybe it will be one of Lauries horses but I can't feel guilty if all her horses she has for sale are sold by the time I can buy one.  Someday I can see buying a weanling from her or paying for a breeding and the care of one of her mares so I can have the foal.  Oh to dream!  For now I'll just work with Divine and Willy and continue to think about what I want in my own horse.