Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

In a nod to Halloween I thought I would post a couple of pictures of the boys from years past.

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. Got up early this morning. I wanted to be to the barn by 8:00. Needed some time to get the pasture mud off Boo before we loaded up and headed out for the clinic. He wasn't too bad off considering it had been 2 days since I had been out. We were a little bit late leaving but got to our destination in time for Linda to saddle up and ride. I was to ride 45 minutes later.

I really learned a lot in this clinic. My friend Joanne taped it for me. If she hadn't I would be panicking about now, because I know I have already forgotten some of the details. Still I remember enough to work on until I get the DVD from Joanne. We worked in rising trot and canter. We also did some work on leg yielding which I had thought I was doing pretty well on, but now recognize that I am leaning too much and having to work way to hard at getting him to move sideways. This is a very non intimidating clinic and instructor. I love that. It makes it seem like a fun outing with girlfriends rather than a life or death work session.

We have coffee and everyone usually brings something for the potluck table. Today I took a crockpot full of taco soup. Nice to have something warm on a chilly day. By the time we got back to the barn I had time to come home, shower, and eat something before the trick or treaters started knocking on the door. It's now 8:06 and they are still out there in mass. My lights go off at 9:00 or when the candy runs out which ever comes first. Hope you all had a happy Halloween!

Tomorrow it's out to MHEEC in Boring where Sarah will compete Bay in the "Dressage Can Be Fun Show!" She did the schooling show today and got the 2nd highest score in her first class 69.4 as opposed to 69.7 and then got another 69.4 in her second class which ended up being the highest score. We have high hopes for her in tomorrow's league show.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Horse filled weekend coming up!

Another productive lesson with trainer Tracey. Seems I have this major problem with turning my legs outward, so I am pretty much always in Boo's side with the back of my heel and consequently my spurs. Good thing they are those teeny tiny english would be much appreciated I am sure if I learned to have a more stable leg and used my calf to cue him and NOT my heels.

Once again we worked on my body position. I have to admit I have been lazy this past two weeks and haven't practiced what I learned last time nearly enough. Only a couple of times to be honest. So today we did more circles at the rising trot while Tracey continuously reminded me to look between my horses ears and not in toward the center of the circle. She also had to remind me to keep my stirrups on the balls of my feet, to let weight sink into my heel, to keep my leg long, to close my fingers around the reins, to keep my thumbs up (I am usually pretty good about that one), and to keep my hands lower and in front of the pommel. Oh, and to not let my reins get to long.

I hate to do rising trot. I have always hated to do rising trot. I am not very good at it...and Boo is not very good at going forward in a relaxed manner when I am doing it. So I know I need to practice more at the rising trot and gather Boo up and send him forward with a lengthened stride. We worked on that today along with spiraling in and out on a circle. When I finally got to sit the trot I think Tracey was surprised that I am much better at that then at rising trot. I spend 95% of my riding time sitting the trot...probably 4 % cantering, and 1% doing rising trot. Guess what I am best at!!! So we spiraled in and out at sitting trot and Boo was much more collected. At the end we practiced tranisitions from sitting trot to jumping into the canter and back down to trot, then walk. I ended the lesson tired, but happy. Tracey said I had a better seat than I give myself credit for. Yay! Praise from someone whose riding ability I respect. Feels wonderful. It's been a long time. So glad I am back in lessons.

This coming Saturday I will be doing a clinic with Bernadine Diers. She, too, is someone I respect. As a matter of fact, so far the two women have each validated one anothers lessons without ever knowing what the other one has said. That is nice. Knowing they both see the same issues and strengths. Makes me confident that with both it is money well spent.

Sara will be taking Bay to the "Dressage Can Be Fun" show at MHEEC in Boring this weekend. I can't go for Saturday's schooling show, but I will be there on Sunday for the league show. His name is FTF Baythoven and if any of you are there come up and introduce yourselves.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The puppy education begins

No horse time for me today, although hubby did take Bay cow sorting again. This time went better than the first time. He came home tired and happy. That's the way I like it. The happy part anyway!

Instead of going along and watching I took Miss Miley to her first beginner dog training class at Petsmart. I had signed up for Monday nights but no one else did, so they canceled the class. Instead I had three choices. Either Sunday at 2:30 p.m. or Wednesday at 12:00 or 1:00 p.m. Now if I went on Wednesday, I'd have to miss my linedancing class from 11:00 to 12:00 or leave it ASAP and rush home to pick up Miley and beat feet to the 1:00 class. Somehow, like with horses, I don't think rushing about right before a training session sets the stage very well at all. So I got Sunday at 2:30. The middle of the dadgum day!!!! I'm hoping to get moved to a Monday night class in November. If not I'll end up missing a lot of these classes for horse shows and trips! Bah humbug.

The class is going to be fun for the two of us though. I can already see her paying more attention to me. She's very treat oriented that's for sure! Hope she doesn't get fat before we are finished here.

Sunshine and horses

Ya know, reason tells me that if I only make it out to ride once every couple of weeks I am going to be one sore cowgirl the day after the ride. Life is finally starting to slow down (I thought that a month ago so don't hold me to it) so I should be able to get back on schedule with my rides.

Made it to the barn today. It would have been a sin not to go. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and who knows when that will happen again. Somehow I didn't get the impression that Boo was all that happy to see me. I think he would have been content to stand out in the pasture and bask in the sun. My first reaction when I took off the blanket was "my God, he's a woolly mammoth!" He wasn't to tangled, but his feet sure needed attention. Once we had saddled up and made it into the arena, I could see that this was going to be one of those days where he would try just about anything to get out of work. He wasn't "hot" just conniving. He spooked at both ends of the arena and tried to give me sidepasses when I asked him to go straight. Unfortunately, his obstinence meant I had to use the "stupid stick" more than once. I finally got him going forward and listening to me. It took about 30 minutes to get there though. The last half of our ride went very well. We worked on what I could remember of my lesson with trainer Tracey. I have another lesson this coming week, and I don't want her to think I didn't work on it at all...although that is almost the truth. I also have a clinic coming up next Saturday with Bernadine Dier. I'm looking forward to that as well. So guess I am jumping back into the horse world with both feet this coming week. Wish me luck. I hope my body holds up!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Stills

Candy Corn

Color in my neighborhood

This one was taken by my's a covey of quail at my mom's house. He took it Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Company time

I didn't ride yesterday. I was busy busy busy getting ready for more company. Mick's mother, sister, and brother-in-law are arriving this evening. They came all the way from Southeastern Idaho to see our grandson Shea in Oliver. We go on Saturday night.

Of course a person never has things as perfect as we would like for company, but I managed to get things to where I am at least not embarrased, so today I went to the barn and took advantage of the beautiful weather to groom and ride Boo. Of course we practiced all the wonderful things we had learned in our lesson on Tuesday. Not bad, even if I do say so myself. I didn't ride as hard as I probably should have but ladies I am SORE from that lesson. I plan to build up my endurance as time goes by.

I won't have time to post this weekend...but I do have my Sunday stills photo all ready to was a really fun assignment this week. Hope you check it out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My lesson with Tracey

My lesson yesterday was awesome. Just as I had expected a lot of bad habits had creeped in to my riding. Some of it I was aware of and some of it I was completely in the dark about. I got to the barn early in order to warm up, but as it turned out the first part of the lesson was at the walk, so I didn't really need the extra time.

We worked a lot on my position. First off my stirrups were to long. I thought this was probably the case because I often had trouble keeping them on the ball of my foot and in some cases even lost them all together. We talked about keeping my toes up...I have to admit a lot of the time, especially in the faster gaits, my legs tend to creep up and my toes tend to point downward. We think the better stirrup length will help me to be more stable while I am working on a longer leg.

But toes pointing downward was'nt my only problem. When I was consciously trying to keep my toes up I also turned my foot outward. This kept me using the back of my leg and heel rather then the inside calves to give aids. Consequently, my spurs (when I use them) are in the side of the horse too much. So I rode with my toes turned in...almost pigeon-toed. At first it felt really uncomfortable, but by the end of the lesson I barely noticed. Of course Tracey had to keep reminding me, but I will continue to work on it on my own.

Next we worked on the slight arch in the small of my back. Tracey says if I keep riding that way I will end up with back problems. So, I am to pull in my tummy muscles and imagine pressing against a hand on the small of my back in order to correct the arch. That one was tough because as soon as I released those tummy muscles that arch was back. Instead I rode with my tummy muscles slightly tensed the entire time. At least I tried to. Since my tummy muscles are a bit sore this morning, I'd say I did a pretty good job.

I found that I ride with my hands a tad to high and a tad to far back. That was fairly easy to correct. I also ride with my reins to long. Lastly, I turn my head into the circle when I ride. I'm to look between the horses ears and use my peripheral vision to look to the next point in the circle. It messes with my balance and my horses balance to look inward like I do.

We worked on connecting Boo to the outside rein and on keeping his shoulder from popping out when we are doing a circle on the left lead. These were two of the same things I worked on at the Bernadine Diers clinic I went to a few months back. It's comforting to know that two trainers are seeing the exact same thing and prescribing the same thing to fix the problem. I know Boo and I are on the right track in that area.

So, this sounds like a lot of negative huh? Well, I tried to do everything she said during the lesson, and I had one of the best posting trots I have had in I don't know how long. Normally I hate to post the trot. I'd much rather sit it. Yesterday posting it was easier because he was more forward and my position was much more stable. I loved the lesson and can't wait to practice what I've learned and go back for more!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's not a rodeo!

It's a beautiful morning. Just got back from walking Miley. She's loving it! Poko on the other hand is wondering why she is being left behind. I just can't school Miley on the niceties of walking next to your human (rather than pulling her down the sidewalk) when I am trying to manage 2 dogs. Even though Poko is perfect on leash it just gets to be to much, and I found I wasn't enjoying the morning walks...I figure I am suppose to enjoy them too! So...Poko gets left at home in the mornings, and Miley gets left at home in the evenings. That is the theory anyway. Yesterday there was no evening walk...bummer for Poko. I will have to get better about that. Being tired should not be an excuse. Although, I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at 9:30 and didn't get up until 7:30 this morning. That is 10 hours of sleeping. I never do that!!! I also walked 11, 134 steps yesterday. I have to really work at it to walk that many steps in a day. Did I mention that I am a bit chubby and out of shape? I am on a get healthier kick. Wish me luck.

Today is the day I have my first lesson with Tracey. The lesson is at 1:00, so I plan to leave here about 11:30, drive to the barn and tack up, and ride warm up for about 30 minutes before the lesson. This is just as much for my old bones as it is for Boo's. I hope Tracey isn't expecting too much! She's probably going to have to work on position issues with me as well as helping me to overcome the fears I have from my accident, and being so out of shape. I don't ever want to fall off again. I've done it 3 times and broken bones twice. I've paid my dues. It's not a freaking rodeo! Who knew that a riding instructor would end up needing to be a therapist and a fitness trainer to boot! Haha! She'll probably charge me 3 times as much when she see what she has gotten herself into.

I'll keep you all posted on how the lesson goes! Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An awesome weekend.

It was an awesome weekend! Why? Because my nephew's wife gave birth to their very first child today. Sasha arrived at 2:02 p.m. and she weighed 8.5 lbs and measured 21 inches long. It's always exciting to welcome a new addition to the family. Mick and I were kept up-to-date on how things were going by text message. Isn't technology wonderful? Within less than an hour of her arrival we had a mobile picture.

Spent the better part of the day at the barn today. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I had hubby take a couple of pictures of Boo and myself...rode in the arena for about 40 minutes, and then we took a trail ride to cool out. Won't be long before it will be to wet to do that, so I am glad to have the opportunity to do it now. I figured out that I can't wear my pedometer when I'm riding. It "IS" counting the horsey steps and thats it says I took 16,491 steps! Most days I'm lucky to get close to 10,000...actually MOST days I don't get anywhere near 10,000, but I am working on a plan to remedy that. I also looked up the gym schedule and found 2 yoga and 2 pilates classes I can attend this week.

We had our annual barn bbq yesterday. The weather cooperated! I enjoy getting together with everyone. I have way to much potato salad left over though...guess no one is eating starch. I probably shouldn't either. Ya know, I never realize how much weight I've gained until I see a picture of myself. I am not a happy camper when I see a picture of myself. I did talk to trainer Tracey though, and Boo and I have a lesson set up for this week. This will be the 2nd lesson I have taken in the past 3 years. I stopped after my big riding accident and never started up again. I know I have plenty of bad habits that have creeped in to my riding. I really love what Tracey has done with Sarah, and although I'm not all young and willowy like Sarah, I think Tracey can help me to be more effective in my riding then I have been.'s to fall and going back to (riding) school.