Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

I am not a die hard shopper, unless it comes to all things horsey.  I wasn't planning on buying much today besides grain and supplements for the ponies.  But this morning I saw that JenJ was selling some tack so I took a look.  I'm taking her 76 fly sheet for McKenna.  I've noticed in our times working the outdoor arena that McKenna really doesn't like bugs flying around her.  She'll shake her head and focuses more on being annoyed than on me. I was thinking that she'll probably be a bit of a diva about bugs in the summer so I was planning on getting her a fly sheet, fly mask, and probably the ear nets for when we ride.  I'm so happy to get a sheet from a fellow blogger and for only $10!

My second unplanned black Friday deal was from SmartPak.  I was looking at fly masks and ear nets and decided to check out their sales, just in case.  They had their Bradley breeches on sale for $27, so I snagged a pair in tan.  I have a pair already in the charcoal and I think they're pretty decent, if a little long for my short legs.

All the ponies got yesterday off, and today I turned them all out in our gravel paddocks for a bit.  I lunged McKenna in the side reins again, and she was good. I shortened the side reins and other than a few head tosses of annoyance she seemed ok with it.  She still has a way to go, but looks so cute when she's round!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weekend Warrior

Sunday was a busy, busy day. I started by lunging McKenna in the scary part of the outdoor. Normally we don't lunge at that end since the footing is a bit deep but I figured she needed to get over whatever was scary.
There's scary things in the bushes mom, I swear!

She ran and ran, throwing in some good bucks and tried to drag me a time or two. I just let her go till she was tired, switching directions every few minutes. She got very sweaty and was hot so I threw a cooler on her and walked her out. We were able to walk around scary end multiply times with no bad behavior.




My original plan for Sunday was to do a trace clip on Phoenix but since McKenna had gotten so sweaty I decided to add to her clip. I started with Phoenix and he was great. I switched to new blades and it hardly took me any time to do a trace.
Old man's looking a bit pudgy

I pulled McKenna back out and started on extending her clip. She was pretty good, had one little attempted kick the first time I tried to clip her belly. She got a smack and a "Knock it off!" and didn't try again. 
Stage 2 clipping

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Expect the Unexpected

It's been cold, cold, cold but sunny for the past few days so on Friday when I finally had time to ride McKenna I had to take advantage.  We lunged in the indoor then tacked up with the western saddle and headed outside.  She was pretty good walking around the upper half of the outdoor, a little up, but I figured it had been 5 days since she'd been ridden so it was expected.  When I decided to open up our circles and move towards the lower half of the arena all hell brook loose.  Apparently there is something incredibly scary in the bushes along the fence and we had some fun rearing/spinning/jumping backwards moments.  I got her calmed down and moved back to the other half when she started it again. 

I decided to not take any chances and went back inside and lunged again.  She really didn't run around a lot so I got back on.  She was still up, but settled into trot work nicely.  Unfortunately right when I wanted to start some canter work a bunch of people showed up, making a ton of noise, and that fried baby's brain.  She forgot how to canter to the left and was hoppy and cranky going right.  We worked through it but it was definitely not our best work.

Saturday I got to the barn right before a lesson was going to start and asked if it was ok if I took McKenna out during their ride.  I was hoping having another horse show her the outdoor wasn't scary would calm her down.  Nope, not even close.  Back to the rearing/spinning fun. I got off of her and ended up just hand walking her around the scary half of the arena during the whole lesson. Luckily the lesson horse, Tia, didn't care at all and barely glanced at McKenna freaking out.

I mentioned to Jen during the lesson that I was planning on jumping Buddy that day, the first time I've jumped him in a month and she asked if I wanted a lesson.  So I hurriedly put McKenna away and got Buddy ready.  I had put Bud's BoT sheet on when I had gotten to the barn and I think that helped as he was pretty loose and forward during our flat work. Usually when it's in the 30-40s he's slow and cranky to get going. 

We worked on getting Bud in front of my leg, while still packaging him and not letting him get fast and flat.  We did a line that was a forward three or a waiting four going back and forth between the two strides. He wanted the three and every time we had to wait he would fling his head and try to snatch the reins from me.  I think his leasers have let him get away with a lot, so we had a little discussion about it.  He gave in, but I could feel that he was pissed.

We then did a twisty, turny jumper course with some tight rollbacks and angled fences.  Again the point was to having him moving forward but packaged.  He was awesome and listening really well.  We were able to do all the inside turns and fit through a couple tight holes between fences.  He even got every lead over the fence or gave me a clean lead change.  I was so happy when we were done!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nothing Much

I haven't ridden or done much of anything with the horses since Sunday. I've been working more, covering for sick/injured coworkers and have just been too exhausted to work up any enthusiasm for riding. Today I asked my boss if it was ok if I left at my normal time so I could get some sleep/pony time/time with my dad who is up here for a night for work from San Diego.  I ran off to the barn and got a quick western hack in on Buddy.  It's amazing what just a 20min ride can do! I feel so much better!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Change of Plans



Saturday morning I get a call from my friend a few hours before we were to meet to do the trail course saying she couldn't find a trailer and isn't coming. My first thought was why do you agree to go school someplace 2hrs away with two days notice without arranging trailering? I thought she had her own trailer, but I guess she had been borrowing/renting one and can't use it anymore. I was supremely ticked, and considered just taking Buddy and going by myself but couldn't work up the enthusiasm.

So instead of going somewhere new for the first time, McKenna got a trace clip. She was surprising good, didn't care at all when I turned on the big clippers. She didn't like them up along her neck so I switched to my small ones. I only did her neck and chest for now, I might do more later depending on how much she sweats. 
Before:

Her head looks huge, but I promise it's actually pretty petite.


After:

I also decided to free jump her. If there's a possibility that she could be my next show horse I want to know what she looks like over fences and how high she could go. If her form o/f was horrible, the. I'd sell her as a dressage prospect. Her first few tries over a crossrail and small vertical were meh, but once I put the jump up she was great.  Apologies for blurry phone video.
video
 
She was having so much fun as well, she kept going and jumping until I told her to stop. I think I'll try to free jump her a bit more with grids to see what she does. 
 
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Challenges

Today was full of challenges for Miss McKenna, along with the promise of future challenges.  I only managed to turn her out in the arena for about 3 minutes before a few people wanted to ride since it was raining.  She seemed tired from our lesson last night, so I figured I'd just get on and see what happened.

We started our ride by walking around next to my friend and her mare who has been rehabbing for 8 months from a stifle injury.  After a couple minutes we came around a corner and the other mare lost her marbles.  She jumped straight up and took off bucking and farting. McKenna lifter her head and pricked her ears at Bess, but that was it.  No freaking out, no nothing. I was so proud of her!  Through out the ride Bess kept having moments but it never phased McKenna.  Good baby!!

Our challenge tonight was the right lead canter.  McKenna didn't want to pick it up when I asked but kept trying to jump into it when I didn't ask.  She started having a bit of a meltdown as we were trotting around, so we switched to going left and went till she calmed down.  Once she was back with me mentally we switched directions again and worked on lateral work at the walk till she settled down again then we picked up the trot.  She kept twisting her head and trying to hop into the canter but once she gave me two nice circles in a row we called it quits. No point in pushing the baby any more than I already did.

 I made plans tonight to take McKenna down to a mountain trail course with my friend on Saturday.  The course is at a local show ground (they have an A rated H/J show there every year), they turn their main arena into a mini mountain with trees, logs, water, hills, and all sorts of things.  They have a big mountain trail show every fall (my barn owners had one of their horses show in it last week winning reserve in her division) and leave the course up for about a month for people to haul in and practice on. I took Buddy a couple years ago to school and had a blast.  My plan with McKenna is to hand walk her around everything and if she's good to ride in the western saddle.  I have no grand plans for anything, I just hope she's calm and able to relax.

Buddy and I goving over a giant bridge
 
 
Other sie of the bridge.  That's a water fall going in the background.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nothing Like Jumping Right Back Into It

Why are vacations so short?  Four days in the sun relaxing, eating, and drinking is not enough! 
All you can drink margaritas are surprisingly strong, like half tequila and half sweet and sour. 

After 5 days off, McKenna and I had our first lesson with Jen tonight.  I lunged her last night, and she ran and ran making me somewhat nervous for tonight.  Tonight I turned her out and let her run herself around.  Then we went on the line with side reins for another 10 minutes before the lesson. Poor pony was tired.

We started by trotting a circle at each end then crossing the diagonal line and repeating. I tend to loose connection in my outside rein so we focused on having a good feel on both reins and pushing her into my outside rein.  Jen had me exaggerate turning my body to the inside to get McKenna to follow me and bend her body.  We got some really nice trot and Jen kept commenting how cute she looked.

Every time we changed direction, when I sat to change my diagonal, McKenna would pause and hesitate.  I've tried some sitting trot with her in the past, and she's never sure what to do.  Tonight Jen had me do 10 steps posting and 10 steps sitting.  At first McKenna would stiffen up and suck back during the sitting trot, but after a few minutes she figured it out and had the same soft trot if I was posting or sitting.  Our homework is to continue that and start adding in 10 steps of two point.

In our canter work we went back to exaggerating turning my body and scooping her up with my inside leg and rein.  We kept her on a circle, letting her figure out the bend.  She wasn't too sure what to do with the added inside leg at first but started to get it towards the end.  Surprisingly she's gotten a lot better to the right.  Our problem going right was that she wanted to over bend and drift out on one side of the circle.  I had to relax my inside leg a bit to catch her with my outside leg.  She got a little worked up, and had a mini buck about it, but settled down and got over it.   We quit with that, since it was obvious we were close to baby's mental limit. 

I am so happy that even with time off McKenna can come back and work really well.  I'm hoping to have another lesson in two week and maybe, if we work on our homework, we can start doing some trot and canter poles. 

Tired baby is tired

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Better and Better

Miss McKenna keeps getting better and better.  On Monday we had a great ride, able to canter a few circles each direction without bucking and she felt fairly well balanced.  I was even able to sit and put leg on when she wanted to break to the trot and she was great about it.  I've been riding her western, but decided to put her back in the English saddle on Tuesday.  I tried my standing martingale on her, but even adjusted all the way it's still too big for her.  One of the lesson horses has a cob sized martingale that I'm going to try on her.

I wasn't able to turn her out before I rode, and was only able to lunge her on the line.  She tends to be better if I can let her run around vs just lunging her. It was raining and everyone wanted to use the indoor so it was a bit busy. When we went to ride there were two other horses in the ring, the most we've ridden with. McKenna started out ok, but got a little nervous and uppity when we tried to trot. We went to the middle of the ring and parked ourselves while the others rode. When they took a break we went back out and managed to have a decent trot.  At one point one of the other horses passed us, with plenty of room to spare, and McKenna pinned her ears flat back and snaked her head with teeth bared at him.  She's never done anything like that before, and hopefully wont again!

Baby was tired afterwards.
Wednesday I was able to let her run and put her back in the jump saddle.  Again, we rode with the same two horses as the night before but she was much calmer and didn't seem to care about Cheyenne being close to her. I put her back in the running martingale and I think, for now, I like it better.  She was good and relaxed so I asked for a canter.  She picked it right up and was balanced enough for our first time cantering outside of a circle and down the long side.  We didn't do too much more and I got a phone call I had to take, but she was content to walk around for 20 minutes while I talked.  She's now getting a few days off while I escape to San Diego and Mexico for a weekend with my parents and friends.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Down, Two to Go

I spent most of Saturday body clipping Buddy. He's been getting sweaty during his lease rides, and I worry somewhat about him getting put back wet or warm. Bus's odd in that he loves getting clipped so it was an easy decision to make. 

I've always wanted to clip a design onto a horse, but lack any artistic talent. I decided this year I would try it and if it didn't work I could always clip it off. I used a neon dry erase marker and sketched a "B" on his hip. I had to use my little clippers to get inside the B and to clean up the edges so it looks a little funky. Oh well it'll grow out. 

I usually body clip Phoenix every year but I think I'm just going to do a trace clip on him. Since he's older and not working as hard he doesn't need to be totally naked. Anna wants me to try and clip a heart on his butt so we'll see how that goes. McKenna gets pretty sweaty so I'm planning on just doing a trace clip with her too. I might use the little clippers, she's still nervous of them and I think the big clippers will freak her out. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Leaps and Bounds

Last Saturday I started McKenna on MagRestore, a magnesium supplement that she was on with her old owner.  Magnesium deficient horses tend to be hot, unfocused, nervous, and can't stop moving.  Basically all typical OTTB traits.  When McKenna came to us, she was so calm and relaxed we thought she was drugged.  Since then she's gotten hotter and more ADD when being worked.  They told us that she was on this supplement, but I wanted to see how she was off it.  While she's not "bad", I do think the MagRestore really helped quiet her down.  My barn owner wanted to try it on a couple of her horses so we went in together and bought a big tub of it.

Right now they are on a loading dose, but I can see that McKenna's starting to respond to it.  She doesn't need as much lunging before we work as she did a week ago.  She still tends to be a bit ADD, and isn't as relaxed as she was the first day, but I can see a difference.  Hopefully she'll continue to get better.

And as far as working her, she's been great.  I lunged her in my barn owner's lunging draw reins for the first time this week.  The lunging draw reins are tighter and work them a bit more than the side reins so I was a little nervous at to how she'd react.  She didn't care at all and seemed to figure out what was expected of her pretty quick.  We'll start working them into the weekly routine from here on out.

A bunch of poles had been set up in the outdoor arena so after our work in the lunging draw reins I took her outside and lunged over poles.  A circle of death was set up and we started with that.  Again, McKenna didn't care and while she got a little rushed and wasn't totally straight or in the center of the poles she went around really well.  We then moved on to a set of three poles and she rocked it.  Went over then like she does it every day.  My friend convinced me to set up a little vertical and see how she did, so I did.  She obviously isn't sure what to do with her legs, and got a little nervous and rushy after the jump, but relaxed after a few tries.
I promise she has a head