Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bad, Busy Blogger

The past week or so has gotten away with me. First I was battling a cold/sinus infection which has decided to come back, then my dad came up from San Diego, and finally we had a show last Sunday.   

Last week McKenna came into heat, and was pretty amped up for a few days. She also wanted nothing to do with her hay for two days, which had me worried, but she was pooping and peeing normally. We did lots of lunging, and I decided that I'm going to have to at least trace clip her this winter. She doesn't have that thick of a winter coat, but she sweats a lot and takes a while to cool down. 

Last Friday we had a great ride in the outdoor. She was a little more animated in the canter, but was paying attention and starting to soften. 

Sunday we took a couple of the lesson girls out to a small schooling show. Since there was going to be an empty spot in the trailer I decided to take Buddy even though we haven't done a whole lot lately. 

All last week the weather was sunny, if a bit cool. So of course show day it's raining and cold! At one point I had breeches, jeans, tank top, sweater, helmet, gloves, and a snow jacket on and was still cold. 

The girls did great, and Anna and Phoenix did awesome! She did walk trot and trot a pole, coming home with a second and two thirds. Phoenix was mister reliable and was half asleep for the whole thing. 

Buddy and I did ok, a second, third, and fourth, but only because everyone else had worse problems than we did. To me, it was obvious that we hadn't put the time or effort into prepping for the show. We missed a few lead changes, and I was picking at him too much, but he gamely went around. 
        The boys bonding at the trailer

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sunshine Award

Thanks to She Moved to Texas for the Sunshine Award!! The Sunshine Award is for people who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” The nominee must do the following: thank the person who nominated her, nominate ten bloggers of her own, answer the ten questions given to her, and post them and the Sunshine Award button to her blog.

The Questions: 
  1. Mares or Geldings? Usually geldings.  The only mare I've ever worked a lot with is Zoe, and while I like to ride her, on the ground she leaves something to be desired.  I've told McKenna that she's not allowed to be a "mareish" mare, so we'll see how that goes!
  2. English or Western? English. I do like Western, especially since Buddy's been able to teach me how to play with cows, but I'll always be a hunter/jumper at heart. 
  3. Do you prefer “younger” or “older” horses? Historically I've done better with older horses.  The horse I leased in high school was 18, and I bought Buddy when he was 15 and he's peaking at 17 right now.  McKenna's the youngest horse I've had or worked with.
  4. Have you trained a horse from ground zero? Not from completely green. When I got Phoenix he hadn't been ridden much in 4 years, and while he had training on him, we had to start from almost scratch.  Zoe was the first horse I worked with that had never jumped before, but she was a broke western horse. 
  5. Do you prefer riding or groundwork? Riding. I do like groundwork and lunging.  I'm also one of those people who can feel a horses' lameness better in the saddle than see it on the ground.  
  6. Do you board your horse or keep it at home? Board.  One day I'd love to have my own place.
  7. Do you do all natural things or just commercial stuff?(in sense of products) Whatever works. The boys are on herbal supplements that I think work just as well as more traditional supplements.
  8. All tacked up or bareback? Depends on the horse.  Phoenix-saddle, Buddy-bareback.
  9. Equestrian role model? Beezie.  She always seems so classy and professional.
  10. What’s your one, main goal, while being in the horses world? I really want to move up to the 3' classes.  I'd love to show more in the rated shows, but that takes $$$. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We Have a Canter

I finally got brave enough to canter McKenna yesterday. On the lunge line she tends to be a bit expressive in the canter, and it's also where she gets the most nervous so I've been hesitant to canter under saddle. I had worked her for  three days in a row, and when I lunged before my ride she was perfect. 

She was pretty good for our trot work and didn't feel too up, so after a little walk break I asked for the canter. We started left since that's her better direction, and while the transition wasn't pretty she picked it up well. She felt really unbalanced at first but figured herself out without too much input from me. She has a nice rocking horse canter and it's going to awesome when she's fit and balanced.  

We stayed in a circle doing a couple laps before I asked her for the walk. I was afraid she'd get hot and uppity after the canter but she walked away perfectly fine. We did some lateral work at the walk before I asked again. The second canter was a bit more forward, and she threw in a tiny buck, but I was able to sit it.

Again I did more walking lateral work before we attempted to canter to the right. The upward transition was pretty ugly, and she was only able to canter half a circle before falling apart going right. We'll just have to work more at it both under saddle and on the line. 

My farrier should be out tomorrow to take a look at her feet for the first time. I think she's got pretty decent feet so it will be interesting to see what he says. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Last Hurrah

I sent my entry in for a little schooling show next Sunday.  We're taking a couple of the little lesson girls, including Anna and Phoenix, and since there was an empty spot in the trailer and it's a cheap show I decided to take Buddy.  We're going to just do a few 2'6" classes, and while I don't feel totally prepared, I think we can pull it off. 

I jumped him on Friday and other than being a bit flat he was great.  He just wanted to get long and strung out and ended up pulling a couple rails.  We were making the strides in the lines, but I decided that waiting and adding would set him up better.  Once I got him listening and waiting his jump felt much better and we weren't landing like a freight train.  This week will probably be out last full training week together as I've decided to part lease him to Amy and another college girl this term.  Amy's going to be studying abroad next term, and obviously won't be leasing, so having the second girl lease will be great financially.  It's basically the month of November that they will both ride and I figure I can give him up for a month.

McKenna's been a bit more wild child this week.  Didn't help that with my cold and trying to catch up at work she got two days off in a row followed by a couple quick lunges. I did manage to ride her both yesterday and today.  I figured that I'd rather be safe than sorry so I put the western saddle on her.  The trainer she was with was mainly a reining trainer so I know that she's been ridden western.  She was pretty good, but is still ADD.  She is harder to steer going right, and tends to be spookier and more up with her front end as well.  Both days we did a lot of walk lateral work in between our trot work.   

Friday, October 18, 2013

HP Blog Hop: Favorite Exercises

I have different favorite exercises to school for each of the boys, since they are so different in their way of going. Phoenix used to be your typical TB; quick, sensative, nervous while Buddy is lazy and slow. 

For Phoenix I love schooling lateral work, with lots of changes of direction and bend.  Leg yields, figure 8s, and circles used to be our best friends.  For a while I couldn't take him down the long side (especially in the canter) without it feeling like he was going to take off. He also used to be pretty heavy on my right leg and rein, so we did a lot to get him to pick up his shoulder and move off of my right aids.  Once he was more schooled, whenever he would get worked up and felt hot, a few minutes of leg yielding and figure 8s would calm him back down.  It was pressing a reset button.  I've been working with Anna on this, and she's just starting to figure it out.

For Buddy, I really like an exercise my old trainer from high school had us do.  She called it the momentum pattern and its basically a hunter course without jumps.  You start by trotting across the diagonal the pick up the canter and go down the long side.  Come back to the trot along the short wall and trot the diagonal.  Pick up the canter again and repete.  It helps build impulsion and momentum in both the trot and canter, plus it's a good exercise for working on transitions. It really seems to help build a nice flow and rhythm for us.

My last favorite exercise is more for me than the horses.  Its also from my old trainer.  Instead of posting up-down, you post up-up-down.  It works your balance as well as strengthening your two point muscles.  I've been doing this when I ride Bud for the two point challenge.  Today we hit 4:09!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One, Two Punch

Trying to work two horses after work before the daylight's gone is tough!  The past week it's felt like I've been on the go non-stop, at least till yesterday.  I've been batteling a cold that's been going around both the barn and work but I finaly succumbed. Headache, sore throat, sinus pressure...all the fun stuff. 

Following our breakthrough with the martingale, McKenna got a day off while I rode Bud. A couple other girls were out so we set fences and had a pretty decent jump school. Buddy's still out of shape, but was forward and willing! We didn't do too much but I was happy with him. 

Saturday was the first day I started feeling pretty sick so McKenna got lunged in the side reins and Bud got the day off. 

Sunday was evaluation rides for new college team members who ride at our barn. Buddy was being used, and since I felt a little better I got in McKenna. She was pretty good inside so we ventured outside. Fences were being set, and she was fine with that till Jen moved a standard right when we walked past. Cue baby freak out. She spun around then stopped and started shaking. We walked around a bit more but I could feel her still shaking so I got off and we stood in the center of the ring till they were done setting jumps. 

Monday Amy rode Bud and I lunged McKenna. She's fine foing left, but has trouble in the right lead canter. She'll jump around and tends to buck a bit. We will defienetly not be cantering under saddle for a while! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baby Steps

McKenna and I had our best ride so far tonight.  I put a running martingale on and lunged her in it first so she could figure it out.  She's obviously been in one before, she didn't seem to care at all about it.  After about 10mins on the lunge I stopped and hopped on.

She's gotten so much better about standing still at the mounting block.  No more moving or wiggling around.  We walked around for a bit, working on bending and softening.  She'll drop her head and start to stretch down at the walk but it's not consistent yet.  She felt quiet and relaxed enough that I could work on my two point.  We did two, two minute sets at the walk.

The martingale helped tremendously in the trot.  No more head flipping or lightening of her front end.  The upwards transitions were pretty decent and we were able to maintain an almost normal pace and rhythm.  She does try to stop/slow down passing the gate, but we trotted twice around each direction without stopping, the longest we've gone yet!  She felt much more consistent in my hand and not nearly as reactive to my leg. 

We did a few laps at the trot then another few at the walk and repeated.  She got a little upset when my barn owners started feeding dinner so once she quieted down and walked nicely we quit.  I am so happy with how much better she was today.  I know the martingale helped, and that it's not a permanent fix, but hopefully we'll be making a lot more progress now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baby Brain

While McKenna's one if the quietest 5yr olds I've seen, she is defienetly a baby. Every new thing she sees has to go in her mouth. When she walks up to something or someone, she'll nibble and lick. She doesn't bite, but I've decided to not hand feed her treats to discourage that behavior. 

She's remarkably  calm about new things on the ground. We walked around the ring while another horse was getting lunged and was being crazy. She barley batted an eye. We also rode during one of the little kid lessons and she was fine with other horses moving around her, no race horse flashbacks. 

We're still only walk trotting, and will be for a while. She's too inconsistent in the trot for me to feel ready to canter her. She's pretty well balanced right vs left, especially since she raced 20 times! I've been lunging her in very loose side reins and she'll be getting a martingale on soon since she likes to go around with her head in my lap. 
McKenna got to meet Phoenix in turn out. He followed her around like a love sick puppy. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back to Buddy

Over the past few months I've felt like I've been neglecting Buddy.  First when he pulled his shoe and went lame there wasn't a lot I could do with him.  Once he got the shoe back on I was getting ready to show Tia and had to spend most of my time getting her ready.  Now with McKenna here I've been more focused on the new pony. 

Luckily Amy's back from summer break and wants to part lease Buddy again this fall.  She's been out a few times over the past two weeks and has been getting Buddy back into shape.  I told her that he's been out of work, but she didn't seem to mind taking it slow with him. 

I did manage to ride him twice this week, once just a flat hack inside and yesterday we jumped a bit in the outdoor.  I switched him back to the slow twist from the pelham since Amy's never ridden in a pelham and he seems much happier.  The two times I've ridden he's been soft in my hand and stretching down into the contact.  I think the pelham will be our big bit for when he's naughty and we'll stick with the slow twist for every day use.

I got my baseline for the Two Point Challenge on Buddy during our inside hack.  2:53, not great but it's a start.  I dont' know how much two pointing I'll be able to do on McKenna so hopefully the challenge will force me to ride Bud more to work on it!

McKenna has started to show her 5yr old OTTB self.  She's been a little ADD and high, but not necessarily bad.  She'll look at things and tends to focus more on what's going on around her rather than me. She hasn't spooked at anything, including the donkeys and the mechanical cow our barn owners use as a roping dummy. The old trainer had her on a magnesium supplement that they said helped her focus, so I'm going to order some of it and see.

Baby's first time in the outdoor arena

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Many Little Kisses

We didn't get McKenna's papers but was given her registered name and all other relevant info. She was born February 14, 2008...Valentine's Day! Her registered name is adorable and fitting, Many Little Kisses. This is one of the few registered names that I like. And since she has a cute little nose with a snip of white she'll be getting many little kisses.
I had our first ride on her last night. I took her out right when dinner was being fed so she was a bit wiggly in the cross ties. She also is a little mouthy and turned her head to nibble on my shirt when I picked her front feet. 

She didn't want to stand still for me to get on, and we had a little discussion about it. She eventually stopped moving and I was able to get on. She felt a little revved up, but after a few minutes of easy walk she started to relax. There was a lot going on as we rode (feeding, stall cleaning, people riding outside) and she was looking and paying attention to it but never spooked or did anything naughty. 

I asked for the trot and we went about 3 steps before she quit. Tried again and same thing. Lazy baby!! After some leg thumping I was able to keep her going. She's a little inconsistent in her trot but started to relax and give to the bit. When she really gets the concept she's going to be so nice! We didn't do too much but Anna managed to take a couple pics.