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!

March 22, 2015

Serene Sunday

Dusting Off the Roundpen

Friday was a balmy 60 degrees!  After work I decided to head out and do some ground work with Dani.  We did some round penning.  She's doing well with remembering but her turn ins are not as quick.  We'll have to work on that.

Already starting to see the green grasses coming in around the stable.  I'm contemplating when I'll need to start putting that dreaded muzzle on her face.  I hate it but I'd hate if she wound up with laminitis more!

Dani was calm and good during the round pen work.  Her trot started fast but eventually slowed down.  She's also not breaking out of her canter as much.  I didn't want to push her too much since I know she's not very fit.  We ended with some yielding of the hindquarters and then desensitizing the the rope.  She stood like a statue.  Now's the time I need to get some more play things out for desensitizing.

We are still working on trot under saddle.  My rear can attest to that!  Perhaps I'll give up sitting trot for now and concentrate on rating her trot while posting.  One step at a time!

March 18, 2015

Trotting it Out

Sunday was a great day for riding.  I arrived at the barn intent on getting some groundwork done and some riding.  We started in the round pen and I mad the observation that Dani has forgotten to turn in when I step and back.  We'll have to work on it some more and this spring get other ground work done.  She didn't have too much silliness but I didn't want her completely full of energy.

Next I tacked her up and went into the arena.  We worked on trotting mostly.  I have a hard time rating her, too much rein and I have a fight or a walking horse.  I'm trying to work on my seat to get her to slow to a medium trot.  It'd be nice to be able to sit her trot and towards the end of the ride we had a couple successes.  I want to get her a little less tense at the trot.

I know her being tense can make me tense and I tried as hard as I could to reduce mine but it's sure hard with such a forward flamboyant trotting mare!  She also has sudden departures.  I ask for the trot and she sort of lurches into the gait.  

Next time: working on smoother transition and good rating of the trot using my seat mostly.  I haven't had much success even at the walk with getting her to lower her head.  I can work on that too and hopefully get that transferred to the trot once I succeed.

Hosed off a sweaty mare (legs mainly) and then went home to "hose" myself off in a warm bubble bath.  Love those lazy sundays!

March 17, 2015

Silliness with Scotty

Earlier in the week I was able to ride Dani after work.  It had been nearly 2 or 3 weeks since our last ride due to the continual snowy weather we've been receiving.  The ground was decent in most places and when M was tacking up Scotty she wanted to know if we could ride together.  I figured why not, a ride around the property would be fun and be a great chance to catch up with M.

Dani was full of spunk and again not too happy with having Scotty near her.  We tried to ride side by side, then with Scotty in front and then Dani in front.  Dani was speed walking and leaving Scotty in the dust.  If she was behind him she was tailgating and I got tired of trying to slow her down.  WIth exposure I'm sure we'll get to where we need to be.  I've not had issues when there were events at KCRC with other horses.  

We rode through a couple of snow drifts and rather than walk through them Dani seemed to bound even though I didn't ask for any speed.  It was funny but ticked me off since I really want her to listen to me.  She was fresh and full of beans since it'd been several weeks since the last ride.  We've also not had the consistent ability to work on training issues this winter.  I'm thinking we are in the tune up phase of spring time.  The more I can ride the better and then the more I can get her trailered and with some supportive trail riders I can work on any trail riding issues with her.

I ended the ride in the arena since someone was not good at listening so we had to do some basic work.  I lunged her for a bit and there was major attitude and silliness.  Once she got that out of her system she was much more compliant but I still made sure to work on stopping, turning and rating her walk.  We ended on a good note at least.  I sure hope that she and I can work through this and she can be a good trail riding horse.  I'll just have to recruit some well seasoned riders and horses who will know that I haven't ridden her on trails.  

March 11, 2015


A few months after you trim the tree it's time to trim the pony!  I went out on Saturday, after we'd had some  warm days and some snow melting, to address her feet and overall coat.  After nearly two weeks blanketed I'm sure she was itchy like crazy!

Dani's fetlocks grow very fuzzy over the winter and due to all the mud and snow of early spring I want to keep her feet tidy to be able to treat any issues with scratches or mud fever.

I have a 4F blade which does a decent job but I think I need one just a little shorter to get her fetlocks looking ever more tidy. I'll have to go again in a couple weeks once I find the blade I need.  

Since this is a once of year thing I always make sure to desensitize her to the noise and vibration.  I start while standing near her and turn the blade on. We rest and she gets love and scratches. I then move it around and wiggle the extension cord too so she doesn't get freaked from that.  We rest and she gets love and scratches.

Then I start around the shoulder and work back to her rump and then back near the base of her chin to get her used to the sound closer.  We rest and she gets love and scratches. I also rub the clipper on her so she can feel the vibration.  We rest and she gets love and scratches.  Next I run down her legs and move the clipper all around her legs under her belly and also run my hands there too.  We rest and she gets love and scratches.

She's very calm about it, the only hint that she is paying attention is that her ears turn towards the noise.  Sometimes she even turns her head to look at me but with a calm look in her eyes.  I had trouble with her jaw line because of the halter.  I think I really need to just invest in a simple grooming halter or have a helper to retain her with a rope or something like that.  I missed some hairs but will go back when I do some shorter fetlock cuts.

I didn't do her ear this time since it was a long grooming session already.  She only has a tiny tuft sticking out at the bottom that I'll just trim with the scissors.  She does have some issues with the clippers up near her ear so I can work on her with that but I really find the scissors easiest for the tiny area of the ear.  Just FYI I NEVER trim inside the ear since that hair is there to protect from dirt and bugs!  My mare is starting to sleek up with her coat.  Within a month I'm sure she'll be silky as satin and shiny like crazy.  Love those summer coats!

March 10, 2015

Spring is coming

Fur all over me.....

And fur all over the ground after a "quick" grooming.  YIKES!