Friday, August 31, 2012

Easy week

All the ponies have had it easy this week.  Bud and Zoe got their feet done yesterday, and boy did they need it!  In the past week or so, Buddy's fee have exploded and I'm actually surprised he kept his shoes on.  Zoe weren't as bad, but when she gets long her feet look almost foundered.  I talked to my farrier about it and he said she has basically two clubbed feet up front.  As of yet they haven't caused her any problems, but I do wonder if in the long term they will.

I jumped Zoe today and she was great.  I switched her bit, from a plain loose ring snaffle to a D-ring french link.  She some times will shake her head and grab the bit  for a stride or two in the snaffle, so I wanted to see how she'd do with the french link.  So far so good!  She didn't try to grab it at all, and I seemed to have a little better control of her shoulders with it.  We worked on going forward to the jumps today and we added two 2'6" fences in.  She jumped everything well, moving forward when I asked so I called it good while we were ahead. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

ADD Pony

Buddy has decided dressage isn't for him.  While he wasn't bad at our dressage show on Saturday, he wasn't good either.  He was very ADD and wouldn't focus on me for more than a couple strides at a time. We warmed up pretty well, but once we were doing our test everything seemed to distract him. We had some nice moments but overall our tests lacked focus.  We received a 57% in training test 3, and a 56% in First level 1.  In the comments, the judge called him very cute and willing, but did mention that he needs more impulsion and swing thru his back.  We'll keep working on it, and hopefully do better next time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting there

After our couple giraffe-esk rides, I put Buddy back in the German martingale.  It helped so much!!  He didn't even protest that much other than being a little behind my leg in our upward transitions.  

Yesterday we did a little longer ride, working on some of the movements in our tests.  We worked on our trot lengthenings, and had a bit of breakthrough.  I usually post during the lengthenings and Bud usually just speeds up.  I tried sitting yesterday while keeping my hands up and set.  It seemed to work; I could feel him start to lengthen his stride without rushing.  I tried again today, and while it wasn't as good, it was still an improvement over before.

We did a little shorter ride today, as he was more compliant and moving off  my leg better.  We schooled more transitions today and after our work we wandered out to the field and popped over a couple jumps.  We have one more ride tomorrow before showing on Saturday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Someone enjoyed his vacation

I haven't really ridden Buddy since our show 2wks ago. I've done a couple easy bareback hacks, but no real work.  It's been really hot here in the 90's and has gotten over 100 a couple times.  I've just been too tired and hot after work to convince myself to get into the saddle.

 I rode Bud yesterday in a different bit, a mullen mouth that I've used on him before.  It used to work great on the flat, but didn't have enough breaks when we jumped.  We started out doing some loops and turns, trying to have a nice round trot.  Buddy had other plans....namely trying to impersonate a camel.  He was moving forward off my leg well, but I couldn't get his head down.  In our canter work he was pretty strong and I had to really sit deep to try and keep him with me.  We definitely won't be using this bit again.

Today I put my magic bit on him; it's a French link D-ring that I've had for 12yrs and used on every horse I've owned.  Phoenix goes in it right now, and I used it for a while on Buddy before.  While he was little better about his head today, he still wasn't where I wanted him.  He's really resistant to the right, which is usually his good side. I would think he's out in his neck or back, but usually when he's out he won't go forward and he's moving off my leg really nicely right now.  I think I really need to get after him this week since we have our first dressage show on Saturday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More pretty new jump!

We've been painting fools all week. Kylie has finished the first side of one of the new planks, I did one side of the other today.  It's been so was 99* today.  The good side is that the paint dries fast but on the downside I'm too lazy to ride which is why I've been paining.  Enjoy the pics!

Kylie freehanded these!

My fun new plank! 

With matching purple poles!

Barn dog Missy approves!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easy Week

The ponies have had a pretty easy week.  There's a 17yr old FFA girl from L.A. whose been coming out the the barn the past week to learn about horses and an actual farm.  She said there is only handful of FFA kids in L.A., and no real farms down there and she wants to learn as much as she can.  She's the niece of a friend of Jen's, so Jen has been bringing her out and giving her lessons on Buddy. 

Kylie's had a little bit of riding experience, but so far she's doing really well. She's got him cantering, but they still need to work a bit on steering.  Today she and I took Bud and Zoe out for a long trail ride thru the grass seed fields.  I haven't ridden Zoe since the show, but she was great on the trail.  At one point, we went past an old run down house and barn that's been taken over by blackberries and Buddy refused to go forward.  He's been past the house many times, but today I had to grab his reins and pony him off of Zoe till we got past it.  Then he was fine and went wherever Kylie wanted.  Silly boy!

We've also been repainting some of the jumps.  We've got some of the 4H girls to help, so it's been going pretty fast.  Kylie is a bit of an artists, so she's going to paint some flowers and vines on one of our plank jumps.  Hopefully she'll finish that tomorrow!

What we've done so far!  I really like the red and black standards.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not our day

So before we even left for the show yesterday morning things started going wrong.  My truck overheated at 5am as I was hooking up the trailer.  It was in for an oil change 3wks ago, and I had driven it Thrus and Fri without any problems.  So after a frantic phone call to Jen, I woke up Rick and pleaded to use his truck. Understand that this truck is Rick's baby.  Connie doesn't even get to drive it that often.  I have driven it once before, but had never hauled with it.Rick's truck is 2009 1-ton dually....which compared to my half ton pickup is a whole lot bigger! 

Once we switched trucks and loaded up, we were only a half hour later getting started.  The drive up was nerve wracking since I was worried about wrecking the dually.  I must say, it's a dream to haul with.  So much smoother and powerful than my truck.

Never get between a man and his truck

Once we got to the show, things started ok.  I got on Zoe to school her first while Nik got on Buddy.  Both warmed up well, with only one spook from Zoe when one of the jump crew lifted a brush box above his head to move right as we walked past. We did a few circles in the now scary corner and she got over it. I hopped on Bud a did about 10mins of warm up with him, jumping a few things just to get a feel of how he'd do.  He was excited, but good. Nik's classes went first, and while they were small she did awesome!  She got a first in her walk trot class, and a first and second in her trot-a-pole.  Ended up walk trot champion! 

It was probably 10am when I went in with Zoe and it was close to 90*.  She was so tired and we couldn't seem to find a rhythm.  About half way thru the course she stalled out going past the gate and we couldn't come to a decision about a distance to the next fence.  She stopped and almost ran into the standard.  I was up on her neck, trying to get back in the tack when she went sideways trying to make it over.  I did a slow roll over her neck and landed in the dirt on my shoulder.  I'm fine, and got up right away.  Zoe looked at me and seemed like she was upset.  I told her it was my fault and we walked out.  In our next round, she really backed off that same fence, so I went to my crop and smacked her about 3 strides out.  After that she was much better.  Our last two rounds were ok; she was still pretty slow and tired.  We didn't place but I was happy with how we ended.

After a quick break to put Zoe away, grab a quick lunch consisting of beef jerky and a milkshake, and get Buddy ready, I went back to the ring.  By this point it was closer to 100* and I was pretty much done.  Feeling like puking is not how you want to go into the ring.  The first round with Buddy started with a short approach to a vertical on a short diagonal that Buddy knocked.  I don't think he realized we were jumping it to about a stride away.  He landed strong and we had a bending line to a single outside fence that was all brush boxes and flowers.  I couldn't see the distance and we ended up having a refusal but at least this time I stayed on!  We came back and got over it ok.  In the next round we had a stop there too.  I was just too tired and was getting psyched out.  Luckily in our last round, and eq class, we didn't have to jump the flowers.  It was decent round and somehow I ended up third.  I was just so happy to be done I didn't care.

So it wasn't our day, but at least we made it thru!  I am happy with how Zoe recovered.  Her owner came to watch and said she looks great, and wants me to keep showing her.  I know my problems with Bud were my fault, and as much as I want to beat myself up over it, it only hits 100* once or twice a year.  I think if it hadn't had been as hot, and if I hadn't spent the morning freaking out about the truck swap I would have been in a much better head space.  I am proud that I made it thru the day without crying or puking!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good news!

I took Phoenix in to see Dr. Ben today, and after looking at his leg Ben agreed with me saying it could be fractured and that we needed x-rays.  Luckily Phoenix was cooperative and we didn't have to sedate him.  Ben took 3 views, and they showed nothing, no fractures or chips.  There is still some soft tissue swelling and Ben gave me Surpass cream to put on it once a day.  We also got the ok to do some walking under saddle and we'll see how he's doing after a week.

I had a lesson tonight on Zoe, and little mare was awesome!  We warmed up in the sand arena, them moved to the grass to jump.  They were harvesting the grass seed field directly behind the grass arena but Zoe didn't care at all.  After a couple warm up fences, Jen had us start working a little hunter course.  I really need to make sure to keep my inside leg on and push her out thru the turns.  She really likes to drop her inside shoulder. 

We ended by schooling a bending line, her first.  I had to really drive her to the first fence and ask for a lead change over it which didn't go so well.  We schooled the change a couple times but Zoe was getting tired and once we got it we quit.  We ended up doing the line on the wrong lead, but it was nicely balanced and we got a decent distance to the second fence.  What I love most about Zoe is even when she doesn't know exactly what I want, she tries so hard.  She also seemed pretty proud of herself too!