Thursday, April 30, 2009

No grazing for Boo today

It's been a long day. It was a good day, but it has been a long one. I spent the morning at the barn with Boo. Loving the sunshine. We did our practice from the clinic this past weekend and then we rode outside for awhile. I ran short on time and couldn't let him graze. He looked at me over the fence line like I was the worst Mom in the world. He stood there until I got into my car and then he finally turned away. Guess he figured out the cookies were all he was gonna get today. No green spring grass for Boo! I'll have to make sure I let him spend time grazing tomorrow.

I bought some corn oil for Bay day before yesterday. He's looking a little ribby and increasing his hay ration doesn't seem to be quite enough. I increased his soy and started him on some corn oil and we'll see what happens from there. I think he lost some weight after he had his teeth worked on. I think he was pretty sore for awhile. He had some major work done. He works pretty hard too. He's such a good boy. I wanna put the some meat back on him. Sure happens fast.

Both boys got shoes on Monday, so we are ready to go ride some trails. Wish the rain would stop. Heard on the news that we are short on rainfall for this year. Yeah, because it snowed instead of rained. The snowpack should be great.

I gotta get out from in front of this computer. I've been here far to long today. Later everybody.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feeling good about today

I have not had a riding lesson in almost 3 years...until today. I went to a clinic and rode and it was wonderful! The trainer is a very positive person. Quick to point out what you are doing right and helpful with what you need to do to fix any problems. It was a very non-threatening environment. It was probably helpful that 3 of the other riders had come from my barn and I had met 3 more riders previously. Even so, I opted to make darn certain I'd keep the nerves at bay and took a shot of Pendleton about 30 minutes before my ride. A very dear friend boards at the barn where the clinic was held, and she took video for me. I plan to go back again and again and again :)

We worked on getting Boo to relax and not fall in over his left shoulder on circles. I didn't even realize he was doing it. Believe me though, once we fixed it I could definitely tell the difference and knew immediately when he tried to go back to it. By the time we were finished he was going around in a balanced frame and reaching for and chewing on the bit. I could feel him lift his back and give a soft roundness that has only been fleeting before.

When we head around to the right I need to flex him more than I had been doing. My outside rein was good but I had not flexed enough on the inside rein. When we head around to the left I need to counterflex him because I need to move him off the left shoulder. When I did it right I could feel him square up beneath me. I have to admit that in the beginning when he would square up I would be sitting crooked. Bernadine told me to glance back over my right shoulder to the outside of the circle and I ended up square in the saddle. She told me to work the circle in both directions and to spiral in and out on the circle with those corrections in mind. She actually told me a lot of things but I am not remembering right now. Thank goodness for Joanne and the video!

Boo was really good too. He got a little snorty when we first tried to load him in the trailer. One of the reasons I wanted to do this clinic was to get him off the property and take him for a ride. He hasn't been off the property since we moved him in last September. He ended up riding well and settled in at the barn where the clinic was being held quite well. He has never been there before, so I thought he might be spooky in the arena. Didn't happen. I think we had him so engaged in the work he didn't have time to even think about where he was.

I'm getting shoes put back on both horses on Monday, so if the weather gets nice and stays that way hubby and I can start going out for rides. I am so looking forward to this summer! Happy Trails!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No crupper allowed

I use to longe Boo in side reins. I wanted to work him 5 days a week and quite frankly my body was begging for a break after 4 days. Once I had my accident I couldn't do much with him at all. No riding, no longeing, not even any grooming for quite some time. I had someone to ride him and show him, but I figured I'd have the trainer at the barn longe him in side reins once a week just to keep up his routine. She was the one who taught me how to do it, so I knew she knew what she was doing.

Almost from the start things did not go well. To this day I do not know why. He would not listen to her voice commands or aids and would start out racing around her like a bat out of hell. He would go on this way until he had worked himself into a terrible sweat and tired himself out. Only then would he settle down to work and listen to what she was asking for.

When the trainer first told me this was happening I was flabbergasted. It happened the next week and again the week after that. Other people at the barn who witnessed it started telling me about it. Once I was well enough to go to the barn, I decided to be there during his next longeing session and see for myself what was going on. Sure enough it happened just as the trainer had described. The only thing that I could see that was different was she was longeing him in a surcingle with a crupper and I had always had a saddle on him with the stirrups run up or removed. I thought maybe the crupper was scaring him but the trainer insisted that was not the case. On that day he was particularly disobedient and I could see he was either angry and rebellious or frightened.

During the course of the longe session Boo began to refuse to go forward. He started backing up. He did this a couple of times and the last time he began backing quite quickly. The trainer was pregnant at the time and getting quite large. She could not get behind him in time to drive him forward. He came up off his front end and went over backwards hitting his head against the arena wall on his way down. That my friends was the end of the longeing sessions.

Fast forward about 2 years. Here we are...I am completely recovered and Boo has not been longed in side reins since the day he reared over backwards. When I first got back to longeing him at all I did it in a halter with a longe line attached. It took me 4 or 5 sessions to get him to the point where he didn't squeal and take off at a gallop at the end of the line. We worked on starting out calmly at the walk and waiting for me to ask for the trot and finally the canter. We worked on changing gaits and spiraling in and out of the circle and for the most part we have done very well. Rarely is he so full of himself that he doesn't want to listen and I quite frankly don't put up with that.

Today I went to the barn and enlisted the help of Trainer Tracey to get Boo back to longeing in side reins. We decided to get him all geared up but start the longeing without attaching the side reins. No problem here and I didn't really expect any. After awhile we attached the side reins but we have decided to tighten them gradually, almost as if we are just beginning to teach him about them for the first time. We have no idea if he has a memory stored inside himself about the rearing over incident, and we didn't want to trigger anything negative. He did very well with both Trainer Tracey and myself at the end of the longe line. I'm encouraged. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be gradually shortening the side reins until I can finally work him where I want him to be. I will be paying attention to his feed back and not going where he is clearly not comfortable going. This is going to be good for both of us...and oh, by the way, we are NOT using a crupper.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Playday at the barn

Had a playday at our barn today. Good food, nice people, and some riding. I was a bit worried that Boo would be spooky, but he surprised me. It was almost as if he knew this was a show of sorts and different then just schooling in the arena. He probably recognized the atmosphere. It's not like it's new to him. The weather was absolutely marvelous. Couldn't ask for better. We did a dressage test ( a baby beginner one) and a walk/trot class and an in-hand trail class. The dressage trainer at our barn served as our judge for the dressage tests, and she was very generous with her remarks and scoring. Boo is afraid of all things trail so we opted to do the in-hand rather than the under saddle. I am going to keep working in-hand for awhile and then shift to under saddle. Make it a goal for summer. More work on the trail course and more trail riding. In the meantime I signed up to go to a dressage clinic next weekend. It will be the first time I've done that. I'm working towards quieting my show nerves so I can maybe do a few schooling shows this summer. All in all it was a perfect day, and now I am going to go lay down my head and veg out. Hope you all had a nice Sunday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I've been having trouble

Today is the first day I've been able to log on without my computer going stark raving mad and opening the same window 15 to 20 times! Has that been happening to anyone else? I've run my virus scans and nothing is showing up, so I've been hoping it was a blogspot problem that has now been taken care of.

I rode Boo today. It's nice out so I couldn't resist even though I really have a lot to do here at home. We did pretty well until someone shot off a gun close by. About 3 shots. Is it hunting season for something? Boo spooked at that, but I managed. Went on riding and finished up asking for the canter both directions. Did our obligatory 20 meter circles. I had wanted to ride outside, but after the spooking episode I thought better of it.

Going down to Salem tomorrow to watch some of the AHBAO show. Should be fun. Going to go down south of Salem on Saturday to a grand opening of a new equine facility. Not in the market but thought it would be fun to check it out.

Sunday our barn is having a playday and potluck. I'm glad the weather forecast is so promising! Should be fun. If the forecast holds Boo will be getting a bath on Monday. First one since the fall.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

30 years and counting...

Took advantage of another nice day to go riding. I'm liking riding in the morning because I get the arena pretty much to myself and can practice my dressage patterns. Today didn't go quite as smoothly as yesterday. Started out nice, but ended up with Boo locking in the jaw and being difficult. The barns trainer came in while I was dealing with it and gave me some pointers on what to do (which I thought was awfully nice of her). Tomorrow is a longeing day, so I won't be riding again until Thursday. I think this is going to take a lot of patience to get past.

Today was my 30th wedding anniversary. Hubby took me out for a nice dinner this evening and gave me a gift certificate redeemable for a Tucker endurance equitation saddle. I've been wanting one of those for when we go out on the trails. Up until now I've ridden in my dressage saddle which is doable...but I think hubby must have plans to go a lot more often this summer. I'll be doing some measuring and some research into how to get the best fit.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Horse Show weekend

I spent this past weekend going to horse shows. Not riding in them, but going to watch others ride. I went to the Arabians In Motion Back to Basics dressage show at Devonwood on Saturday, and I went to the ODS Adult Team competition dressage show down at the Salem fairgrounds on Sunday. The thought of riding in a show pretty much makes me sick to my stomach with nerves. Still I find value in going to watch others. I posted in an earlier post that I have been having some trouble with Boo. I got some good advice from another blogger and from my old trainer. I used their advice this morning and had the best ride I've had in weeks. I also think that watching others ride all weekend long helped me. I knew that I wanted my guy to work in balance. To make balanced transitions and to listen to my seat and legs. I knew from watching this weekend what that looked like and what it didn't look like. I visualized in my ride today looking the way I thought we should look when we made our transitions and it really did help me. I didn't always get it right, but when I did I knew it and when I didn't I tried again. We ended on a very good note. Can't wait for my ride tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Goodbye Sky

My oldest grandson has spent a lot of time with us while growing up. He's gone to the barn with us to watch us ride, helped muck stalls and groom horses, and even gone and watched horse shows. In the beginning he was somewhat intimidated by the horses, but over time he became more and more comfortable with them. One day he decided he would like to learn to ride. We got him enrolled in riding lessons at the barn where we boarded our horses. He learned to ride both in english tack and in western, and last year he showed at the Clackamas county 4-H fair in both divisions. His favorite horse was an Arab gelding called Skyview Express. Sky was a wonderful horse for a kid to learn to ride on. He was very patient and pliable. He had a lot of try in him and he was well rewarded with the love and care of his young riders. Recently we learned that Sky was to be retired, and since our family had such a soft spot for him, I contacted some of my family in Central Oregon to see if he might come there to live out the rest of his days. Unfortunately that was not to be. Sky passed away Friday night from a bout with colic. He will be missed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Boo's got me blue

Rode tonight and it started out alright. I felt nice and centered. Boo started out listening, but by mid ride he wasn't listening to my aids. Seemed like everything I asked for he did but at his desired speed regardless of what I had to say about it. There was a lot of weight in my hands. I actually felt like he had gotten hold of the bit and was letting me keep his head from falling on the ground. Then...for no apparent reason he would be back listening to me again. Then rushing. Then listening. Then rushing. It was all very frustrating. His canter work was nice. It was mostly trot work where he was blasting through me. I'm wondering what to try to fix this. Any suggestions?