Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WW: We Can Canter Fences Now

The whole weekly lesson/trainer ride thing has been good for us.  We've started cantering fences now!  Apologies in advance for cell phone camera videos.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Because of Course

Since I've put McKenna up for sale I've had the best rides on her yet.  I don't know if its because I feel like the pressure is off to make something of her, to get to a certain point, to show, and I'm feeling more relaxed or what but she's been awesome this past week.

Saturday we had a lesson/trainer ride while trying to get some video of her.  I opted to lunge her first, not that she's been wild, but because they were harvesting the grass seed fields across the street from the barn and wanted McKenna to get a look at the equipment.  She barley batted an eye.

Trainer got on her first and it was pretty ugly.  McKenna is very much a one woman type of horse and she was mad that mom wasn't riding her.  I was going to video but gave it up as she had short, choppy strides and was pretty resistant in her head and neck.  After 15 mins or so I got on and she immediately relaxed.  We just focused on going forward with a nice soft trot.  She was really nice going left, but more resistant right.  We did a little bit of canter then trainer wanted her to jump before she got too worked up.
Trainer said, after seeing the pics, that she needs a bigger fence to jump

We started with a crossrail and it was like the mare had jumped every day of her life.  Trotted up nice and quietly, popped over it no problem, and cantered away quietly.  I actually had to push her forward after the fence because she wanted to break after only a couple strides.  We did the crossrail a few times then trainer put it up to a little vertical.  We haven't done verticals since last summer and even though it was only 18" it seemed huge to me and I was sure she was going to turn into a fire breathing dragon and kill me in the process.

Trainer got on and the first time McKenna wanted to leap at it, but she made her wait and while McKenna wasn't exactly sure where to put her feet jumping close to the base, she did it.  She was good on the off side and cantered away quietly.  They did it a few more times, waiting for the close take off, and then I got back on. The first time thru I really didn't ride or help the mare, and she was unsure of what to do with her feet again but she went over anyways.  Second time over felt really, really nice; probably our best jump yet.  Never did she feel forward or explosive.  I was so, so happy.  Almost makes me reconsider selling her.  Almost.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Q2 Goal Review and Q3 Goals

Hahahahahahahaha.  Oh man this is going to be rough. Here are the goals I put out for us:

 Since I started riding Tia and hope to show her my Q2 goals are going to include her.

For McKenna:
  • Get her out and go places!  My plan is if/when I show Tia to get a stall for McKenna and park her in it at the shows.  And time/space/energy permitting I'll hand walk/lunge/ride her around the show grounds as well. Pretty much a fail.  We did haul out to a friend's house on Monday but that was after Q2 ended. 
  • "Jump" more.  She gets so excited over the little crossrails that it makes me nervous doing them outside of a lesson.  I guess that just means I need to lesson more!  For the most part we did lesson and jump more.  She still  scares me jumping.
  • Work on clipping her ears.  Did do this, but she still hates getting them done.
For Tia:
  • Continue grid work, adding in bounces.  I don't exactly remember when I rode Tia last, but we did do some grid work and bounces. 
  • Work on more eq/jumper style courses Haven't been riding the mare so this didn't happen
  • All the counter canter! See above
  • Show in the 2'6", either hunter, eq, or jumpers.  I'm not picky See above
For Phoenix:
  • Stay happy, fat, and adorable!Win!!  Old man is super happy and super fat! 
Q3 Goals: 

  • Sell her!  Hopefully sooner rather than later because for the next two weeks I'm going to be utterly swamped at work and won't have much time/energy to put into her.  Sorry in advance mare!
  • Trainer rides.  My BO has a dressage trainer riding one of her horses 4-5 days a week at our barn and I'm hoping I can afford to have her do a ride or two a week on the mare.  I really like how BS rides and it'll be good for McKenna.  And I'm hoping to have my jump trainer rider her a couple times as well.
  • Stay happy, fat, and adorable
  • Ride some of the other horses in the barn (I'm riding a friends two mares while she's gone, they're reiners but super nice and super well trained and/or Tia) to get back into a happy riding place.  Riding has become work and something I don't look forward to with McKenna so I need to change that!
  • Buy a new pony after McKenna sells.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ten Years

Ten years is a long time. Ten years ago I was some silly little kid just finished with my first year of college, catch riding for my old trainer, thinking I knew everything and could ride anything, when she asked if I wanted to help with a project horse she had coming in. Phoenix had been sitting in a pasture for four years, and while he had had some training put on him he was still a bumbling green bean. The first time I rode him, July 5th 2005, I thought " What the hell did I just agree to!?"

I had never worked with that green of a horse before. Looking back I know I made mistakes, and would have done a lot different but these past ten years and that special pony have turned me into the horsewoman amnd rider I am today. There were times I wanted to sell him, and probably should have as we weren't the greatest match, but I'm so glad I didn't. I know him inside and out, forward and back, and he is my heart horse.

In many ways McKenna and Phoenix are very similar. McKenna's more bold and take charge were as Phoenix was much more timid and submissive. I've done a lot of looking back lately, and I think it's helped make my decision to sell McKenna. I've done my bringing up baby trial by fire, and right now, have no desire to do it again.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

This is Supposed to be Fun, Right?

Riding is supposed to be fun. We all love horses and find great enjoyment from being around them. That's why we spend thousands of dollars, and pour our blood, sweat, and tears into this sport. But what happens when its no longer fun?

Part of my silence lately has been because, for me, riding McKenna is not fun. I love her on the ground; she's sweet, cuddly and has so much personality. But under saddle she intimidates me. She's hot and bold, and at times feels like a ticking time bomb. For the most part riding her is hard work and not something I enjoy.

For the past few months I've gone back and forth about selling her. Why keep subjecting myself to something I don't like when I'm going broke doing it? And it's not fair to her to be trained by a nervous amateur who's afraid and scared. She has so much potential and I'd never tap into all of it.

So yesterday the mare was put up on DreamHorse and a few Facebook groups. A couple friends have mentioned that they know people looking, including her former owner so I'm hopeful that she'll go someplace where I can get updates on her. I am more concerned about where she goes than price. She needs a confident rider that can bring her up, not someone like myself.

I'm in no rush to sell her and will continue on as we have been till she's sold. And then the search will begin for the next pony.