January 19, 2016

Christmas Family Visits

WOW it's been busy around here!  We've been chugging along getting fully organized in the house and then the holidays arrived!  We had Steve's parents here for about 3 weeks and his daughter Cierra for just over 1 week.  Cierra is 20 years old, almost 21....she's counting the days and goes to school at Salisbury University in Maryland.  She took some riding lessons in high school and simply loves animals.  We were pleased that we had some nice weather finally during her visit where we could ride.  We've received non stop rainy days for several weeks.

These pictures are all from Cierra's phone either taken by her or my hubby Steve.  We started out grooming the two horses and getting them tacked up.  Steve and I hopped on first to get a feel for how the horses were.  It'd been a while since we've worked them or ridden due to weather so we wanted to see how they were feeling.  Steve rode Chance for the first time and was doing quite well.  Chance seemed to follow Dani around mainly, we rode in The Shire.  A couple times I circled her around and Steve seemed to do well with directing Chance.

Then Steve had some issues getting Chance to listen to him and what Steve says is that he sped up or kicked out or something like that.  I was in front and didn't see anything but Chance going one way and Steve going the other with the saddle spinning to one side of the gelding.  Luckily the ground was soft and Steve also wears a helmet so he wasn't hurt.  I dismounted and gave him Dani's reins.  I think Chance maybe had some beans pent up from the rain and lack of exercise lately.  I worked him from the ground and told Steve and Cierra that Dani would be fine to ride.  I think Steve rode her some but I know Cierra did and had a pretty good time from what I could tell.

I needed to have a good note to end on with the pony boy, he certainly was worked up a bit and when mildly asked to trot in a circle we was kicking up his heels and snorting a storm.  The soft ground at one point seemed to slip from under him and he actually fell on his side!!!!  Oh my goodness my heart nearly stopped!  I took nearly all pressure off him to see if he would just walk in the circle and he did with no indication of any leg issues.  I brought him into the smaller riding pen to work him in there so we wouldn't add more area that is torn up.  I have so much I need to do with this property to include getting a safe lunging area completed.  I didn't ask for anything more than a trot but the silly boy cantered at times and spun when asked to change directions or simply snorted and bucked on the line.  A couple times I reprimanded him for the bucks.  I knew he just had pent up energy and we haven't had much of a chance to work with him but I didn't want him to get so worked up he hurt himself.

Cierra on Dani enjoying a nice ride.  They look so cute together!

While Cierra and Steve played around with Dani I continued working with Chance to get him to use the thinking side of his brain.  He finally got to a better place so I asked Steve to come lead him around with me on top.  I was scared for sure but I breathed deeply and mounted up.  We walked around in a couple circles and then when I felt more confident I asked Steve to step back.  Chance was still a little hesitant to walk on-wards with me on top, it felt like I was doing most of the work to get him walking instead of just asking and him going at a steady pace.  I've had horses that wouldn't move under saddle and I know I just need to work with him; ground work and in the saddle.  The balking has a tendency to make me more tense and thus perpetuates the cycle and then the horse responds with either more balking or running off.  I'm okay with the former at this time but I need to find a place where I can mount up and be comfortable with Chance and he with me.  We'll get there.  This exercise just showed me that he's not really what I'd label a cold backed horse but he's not a horse like Dani that can sit in the pasture for several weeks and then go for a ride with few issues.  He has a more active mind and Steve and I have to learn how to work with him.  

Doesn't my step daughter have a nice natural seat??

Since then Steve and I went out in the neighborhood, me astride Dani and him leading Chance.  It's best to work from the ground up.  Steve did well and so did Chance.  I'll post about that later.  At least over the Christmas holiday ride no one was injured and I think there was some quality father/daughter time though not the quiet trail ride together for which I was hoping.


Mrs Shoes said...

My goodness.... how can your girl be 20 & you look hardly much more than that? (meant as a compliment!) Sounds like you had a busy & happy family oriented holiday & am glad to hear it.

About the slippery footing - no kidding, your paddocks must be saturated. I'm sure you about freaked when Chance fell.

I've experienced feeling as though the grass was disintegrating underfoot once or twice, & once during team penning practice (in an oddly greasy corner of an indoor).
My Morgan mare had just cut the steer out of the bunch & was bending to the right after it when her outside hind foot slipped crossways inside of her near hind - almost like a sidepass but only happening in the rear.
It was freaky as hell & I could hear the gasps from the riders @ the other side of the arena (not sure how i heard that over the breath caught in my own throat!) as my surefooted mare somehow caught herself from a complete skid & fall.
Of course we pulled up right away so I could make sure she hadn't pulled or strained muscles or tendons. We were done for the day right then & there, & that was the last time hubby & I trailered an hour (each way) to ride at that place.

lytha said...

What an amazing horse Dani is: ) Happy for you!

Christie Maszk said...

My hubby is older than I am. Cierra was born when he was 23 I think. I was 15 or 16. So theoretically I could have a child that age but nope just my step daughter. She's awesome!