Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yesterday longeing, today a trail ride

Had a lovely trail ride today with my hubby and a couple of other boarders at the barn. Boo was very good. I was actually surprised at how good he was. No major spooks at all. Hard to tell why some rides set him off and others don't. Hope to get out there again some time this week. I'd really like to trailer somewhere and ride on groomed trails. Longed without side reins yesterday just to get him moving after his time off. Going out tomorrow and the ride will more about work. Getting back into the swing of things. Feels good

I'm back...

I haven't posted in awhile. Went out of town...when I got back I promptly came down with an evil virus that knocked me off my feet. Yesterday was the first time I've seen my horse in over a week. We missed one another. This will be short because I have to go get ready for a trail ride. Happy trails!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New addition to the Wilson household

This is Miley. She will be a 1-year-old in a couple of weeks. She came to live with hubby and I this weekend. We have known her since she was 12 weeks old. She belonged to my youngest daughter and her two sons. My daughter is a single mother and they are always on the go. She called last week to say she felt that Miley was getting short-changed in the attention department. She knows I have always adored her and wanted to know if we would want to give her a forever home. Well how could we not! Just look at her! She's darling. She is giving our 10-year-old collie Poko a new lease on life. I think she will be keeping us all on our toes!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday Stills

Trail riding blues

Because it was rather warm upstairs after yesterdays nice weather, I slept with the windows open. I woke up about 5:00 a.m. to birdsong. Once my foggy brain registered that it was Saturday, I pulled the comforter up from the foot of the bed and snuggled in next to hubby for a couple more hours sleep. It was so nice to wake up to the sunshine yet another day! We decided to walk to Starbucks for our morning coffee and to take the dog with us. Let me tell ya, she was jumping for joy! After a decaf, skinny, cinnamon dolce latte and a cinnamon scone, we walked back home, changed clothes and headed out to the barn.

This nice weather is aggravating my trail riding bug. A friend from my barn invited me to go along with her and some other friends for a trail ride Monday afternoon. She said they needed some tried and true trail horses along. I think there are some greenies that need to go out. Well...Boo is not the tried and true trail horse that he ought to be at 20 years old. Instead he is the type of horse who will take his cues from the greenies around him. If they want a tried and true they need hubby and his horse Bay. Today hubby took Boo out on the ride we are suppose to go on Monday. Sarah rode Bay. I stayed back at the barn to man the phone for the 911 phone call that might be required.

Everyone came back in one piece, but I think hubby may have a new found respect for why I am rather nervous about going out on the trail although I long too. Boo can be a very stubborn boy. He especially hates marshy or muddy ground. Today he didn't want to go into the high grass and he didn't want to cross the marshy ground, and he didn't want to stop jigging if Bay got to far in front of him. He ended up going through the marshy ground and into the high grass with hubby leading him there ( I refused to let hubby wear his cowboy spurs). Better that then not going at all. I watched as Mick tried to go forwards, then tried to sidepass and then tried to back him through. The backing almost worked. Finally he got off, led him through, and got back on. I asked him later on if he thought the spurs might have helped and he told me he wasn't sure. They might have, but then again, when Boo goes into his "I am afraid and I'm not going there" brain, the spurs might have just made him panic more.

The jigging was on the way back. He's always done that when other horses get to far in front of him. Especially if he is the last one in line. As a matter of fact, he hates being the last one in line. I don't know who told him the lion eats the last horse in line, but someone obviously did. Mick worked with him on the jigging by just making him stop when he jigged. They'd walk a few steps, Boo would start to jig, and hubby would stop him again. They did that all the way back to the barn. Hopefully, he'll get over that by the end of the summer. At least he was stopping when asked. I guess it could be worse.

I wish I had taken some pictures of them, but the camera was locked in the truck and the keys were in Mick's pocket, so maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Odds and ends

Waiting for hubby to come home after which we head out to the barn together. We took Bay to the vet yesterday and spent about 2 hours there. They looked him over, worked some more on his teeth. Right now they are thinking that his teeth are the problem...the reason he's been losing weight; that coupled with the fact he's only been on hay and no grain and we're working him rather hard. He never needed anything but hay before, but now we are going to try Strategy. Has anyone out there used it? He isn't horribly underweight, but if he had another 50 lbs on him it wouldn't hurt him either.

I am going to ride Boo. He has had another easy week only because I have been busy with other things. I am feeling a bit guilty about that. Tomorrow the forecast is beautiful, so I plan to spend a good portion of the afternoon out there with him. Hopefully, I will get a picture or two to post while I am there.

This weekend is the AHACO show down in Salem. I am going to go down on Sunday when they have the dressage rides because I know a couple of the young ladies showing, and I'd like to see their rides. Might go Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours too, just because I like to look at the western bling. We'll see. Saturday may be given over to work around here that I have been avoiding...or maybe a trail ride? We'll see.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I took a break from horses

I took a break from horses last week. I don't know why I needed one, but I did. Maybe it was just my frustration that Boo still has these issues after 5 years...

Oh well, not like I'm going to boot him to the curb or I'm back. Rode today. His canter work was better than his trot work. We worked through it though and that is what counts. I made him wade through the big mud hole 2 or 3 times before we went in to saddle up. He didn't like it, but he did it.

I got an email last week from Boo's previous owner asking how he was doing. I think I probably wrote her a book length reply. It's always fun to catch people up on your horse. I know the previous owner must have cared deeply about him, why else bother to look him up.

I spent last week getting a weight training routine going. I figure it will help me with my endurance in the saddle and my balance etc. I worked out my lower half yesterday and I gotta say, after riding today I can barely climb the stairs up to the bedroom. Tomorrow is my upper body routine. I'm not overdoing it either. I'm doing one set of 10 with 3.5 lb weights. Guess that shows you how out of shape I have been. This week I am suppose to graduate to 2 sets of 10. Might have to go another week with the one set. Just so I can keep riding.

When I returned to my horse obsession this week, I did it by going out to the Heart of the Valley dressage show at Devonwood on Saturday. It's always inspiring to watch really good riders ride. I took my camera along and took some pictures too. I'm posting a couple of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Mud Wars

When will the rain stop? It's messing wisth my riding schedule. I didn't go out yesterday or today. I knew with the winds and the rain it would be an exercise in riding past the spooky rattling barn door on the short end. Not something I felt up to after my mud puddle wars on Sunday.

I had a nice ride on Sunday. I did have to work more on slowing him down. He always wants to speed up on that long side. We rode lots of circles and straight lines until he finally realized (once again) that I want to be the one to set the pace. I think this might take awhile. Either this wasn't an issue before or I just didn't recognize it as an issue. Once we'd gotten to a good place with tempo we worked on canter departs and staying with me on the tempo there too. I rode off the wall, and instead of riding around the arena I rode him straight towards the wall. That way if he decided to try and blow through my aids the wall would slow him down. He didn't give me any problems at all and was a very obedient boy. Because we had ended on such a good note and because it was rather nice outside, I took him for a little hack out and about the property.

We rode down to the summer pastures and around the outdoor arena. We rode between the rock barrier in the parking lot and the tractor barn and past the pile of hoses just waiting to rise up and eat an unsuspecting horse. We rode past the hay shed, the horse trailors, and the big pile of shavings. We even rode through a couple of puddles that had lost their water, but were still a bit muddy. Now Boo doesn't like mud puddles, so I was greatly encouraged when he rode through the mud without flinching or even trying to side step. I was so encouraged that I decided to give the large puddle outside the little barn a try. We walked up to the puddle which was about 2-3 feet across and about 4-5 feet long. Boo stopped. I gave him a squeeze. He backed up. I gave him a tap with the dressage whip (just a tap mind you nothing more) and Boo started his whirl to the left, head up, snorty, kick out behind bull that he does when he's going to put up an argument. Only this time instead of kicking out once he kicked out a second time, and then a third time. Ah oh, he was getting into a rhythm here and that was not going to be good for me.

I was trying to turn him into a circle but he was stronger than me, so I had to work my left hand down the rein nearly to the bit, pull his head towards my knee and hang on while he circled and snorted and circled and snorted some more. Finally he settled, but he was ready and waiting for me to try to make him cross that puddle. Instead I started walking him back and forth along the length of the puddle. With each turn I would bring him a little closer. Once I had worked him over close to the puddle again, I decided to turn him across the measly little edge of the puddle rather than through the center where it was deeper. Nope, not going there. He started jigging and side stepping his way around the puddle, and I ended up having to circle him again just to get him settled down. This time, once I got him settled, I got off. Let me tell ya, when I hit the ground my knees were knocking. I was grateful that I had not taken a fall and I was angry that Boo was putting up such a fuss over such a small thing as a puddle. He has to walk through a bigger puddle than that just to get out of his pasture and back to his stall at night!

I figured I couldn't let him get away with this, but no way was I risking breaking anymore bones, so I used my dressage whip to keep him off to the side of me rather than directly behind me and I hauled his butt through that puddle at least 10 times. Not along the measly little edge of the puddle either, but right smack through the just above the ankle center of it. The last time through I made him stop and stand in the middle until I said it was time to move. Then I hauled him over to the big barn and enlisted my much braver than me hubby to ride him through the puddle. Mick rode him back and forth 4 or 5 times. By this time Boo was frothing at the mouth but he was going through, so we called it a day. I took him inside, untacked him, and led him back out to graze...right through the middle of that big old puddle. Later on, when I got ready to take him into his stall for dinner I led him through the middle of that puddle again. He is going through that puddle everytime I take him out for anything until there is no more puddle to walk through.

The funny thing is, he didn't want to go through when hubby rode him either, so I walked through to the other side and turned around and looked at him and he came through to where I was. Did the same thing again the 2nd time through. It isn't a trust issue with me, because he's perfectly willing to follow me through if I go first...although I'm sure he'd rather go around. I ended up having to stand off to the side and let hubby take him through on his own, because he needed to go through when the rider told him too not because he could follow the leader.

Obviously this is just as big an issue for me to work through as it is for Boo. Maybe bigger. I've lost a lot of confidence in the saddle after the injuries I've suffered. We will keep working on it. Maybe puddles are always scary to a horse. A friend said she wondered if they didn't just look like a big hole to a horse. I'll figure out a way to motivate him to go through when I ask him too. It just might take me some time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009