Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sundays ride + cute video

Sorry i have been sooo busy i am currently on the hunt for a better paying job with shorter hours so it has been a little hectic. But i finally found some time to update about the quick ride we had on sunday.

I went out on Sunday to see how G was he was standing in his usual spot since they integrated the herd which is right next to the water trough on the Geldings side looking over at the herd on the Mares side. He knows how to get over there he just must be scared of the Mares or something lol. Aparently when they first opened the gate G was one of the first to go over to the other sides but once the mares started getting crazy running and kicking G took off back over to the gelding side almost as if to say "deese bitches be crazay" lol and hasnt gone back over since.

I brought him in and he was not looking stiff or sore and the swelling had gone down so i figured we would ride. He was great to tack up and clean out his feet, his shoes are still doing awesome and looking great and we are on just about 8 weeks im really impressed.

We started off  with a bit of a battle at the mounting block trying to make him stand still so i can get on, i find it very irritating when he tries to rub his face on me while im trying to mount or that the minute i put my foot in the stirrup he tries to walk off, so its still a work in progress but im not scared to hop on anymore so thats a good thing. The other thing we have been trying to work on is not walking off the minute i get on, he is just so enthusiastic to GO and do SOMETHING that waiting for me to get on seems like a bit of an inconvenience to him.

Once on we did our usual walk around the areana to check out all the scary stuff in both directions, then we start with doing circles at every letter with no reins only my legs working on responsivness again in both directions. Then we started working on our contact with the bit and proper frame. Today was much easier to get him into that frame and mindset but i still really have to work on my body working independantly of itself. Its so hard to have your hands doing one thing and your legs doing another, definatly something that i am working on . We did much better i was able to get contact going both directions, with him playing with the bit and haveing just the right about of slobber on his lips.

My trainer always tell me that bum sweat and mouth slobber is good thats what we want evertime we work lol. Anyways we did good in the trot as well with our contact but i am still finding he is hanging on my right leg its making me crazy thats my weaker leg and i cant push him off it so we tend to drift to the right when he is hanging on my leg like that. So i have started carrying my whip in my right hand so when he is hanging on my leg like that and doesnt respond to my leg i can give him a tap with the whip.

All in all a great ride made up for the bad ride last week on wednesday. After i got off i was walking around the arena to stretch out my legs because we have shortened my stirrups and im still working on my heels down muscles i had a bit of a stalker i couldnt help but laugh. G was following me around the arena with his head low trying to catch up to me so he could scratch his face on me, aparently im not just the one that brings the food or the one that brushes him out and loves on him i am also a walking scratching post how lovely.

sorry the video is crappy quality lol but im trying to live up to my new years resolution and post more pictures and videos.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Horses are like kids

You feel the need to wrap them in bubble wrap instead of forever dealing with the cuts and bruises. Sorry everyone but this will likely be a 3 post day i have a bit of catching up to do. All last week i was on barn duty which means every night i have to be out to do the pasture feed. On Friday night we integrated our herd to prepare them to be put out on the summer pasture (which i am super excited for, this should solve our weight problems we have been having) doesnt it look amazing, unfortunatly it is not as close as the winter pastures so catching is going to become a little bit more work but thats ok.

One of the girls i ride with at the barn and i have worked out an arrangement to alternate bringing each others horses in, because we are at a co-op barn we have to do all the work for our own horses as well as the maintenance of the property. So some nights she will bring G in to his stall and ill put him and Bella out other nights it will be reversed but at least now they will both be in the same pasture and i can grab them a ther same time.

So Saturday night i went out to get in a quick ride before my dinner date with a friend, i brought G in before we did the feed so he could get in a little extra hay with no competition in his stall when i noticed a nice little cut on his left hind leg. I didnt take a picture of it initally only when i had it all cleaned up. He seemed really sore and was really uneasy about me touching it so i put off the ride and just set him up in the stall for the night to allow him time to relax without being chased around by everyone trying to redetermine where they fall into the herd.

It doesnt look that bad after it was all cleaned up the dirt removed and some Gel stuff put on it, i was still a little bummed out that i couldnt ride though we had so much stuff i wanted to work on before out next lesson on wednesday. Theres always tomorrow though, im hoping he wont be as stiff and sore tomorrow.
Unfortunatly i have to work Job #2 in the morning and N will be putting him out so i wont be able to see how he is first hand but ill be right out once im off work for some much needed pony time.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lesson #9. Dissapointment and the dreaded Canter

Last night i had another lesson, im trying to fit in as many as i can afford with T before she leaves even if that means that my cell phone bill doesnt get paid and i lose contact with much of the outside world. *sigh* we decided to have the lesson in the outdoor arena with all the jumps set up because it was way to nice to ride inside.

T had me start out by warming G up at the walk and the trot, he burst into little head tossing fits here and there.... no biggie deep breath we worked through it... he would start to take a few canter steps.... deep breath force self in the saddle just go with it and ask for him to come back to the trot... change direction... same thing on the other side... all the while trying to avoid the jumps that G is possitive that we need to jump over while still taking him in between them so he doesnt spook at them later, warm up done time for trainer ride.

T hopped on him to see how much he remembered of his contact lesson last week. He fought her for a few minutes then went right into a beautiful form through walk, trot, canter and all around the arena in and out of the jumps no issues.

Now my turn. This was by far probably one of the worst rides i have had in a long time... it had nothing to do with my horse this was all me. I didnt feel stressed or tense or anything but something was off and it showed in my riding. I was for some reason bracing constantly with my arms and T kept yelling at me to bend my elbows and i would try but 2 seconds later subconciously they would go right back to being straight and on my lap. Then we started to work on contact in a walk i could get him to take contact but i just couldnt give that inside rein away i kept it tight just like the outside and no matter how much i tried to fix it it went right back 2 seconds later. I couldnt get my body to coordinate to work with other parts of my body but independantly. I was so dissapointed in myself, i know this is going to happen there are going to be bad rides but i hate those bad rides... After 30 minutes of struggling to sort myself out i managed to get it here and there and we chalked that up for a win.

Of course T feels the need to push me... she wanted me to canter at very least in the direction he is good in, We ended up going the direction (right) were he picks up the wrong lead and it was not very good i flew forward and hurt my peepee on the front of the saddle *sad face*. T laughed and told me the good way which i then started going left he picked up the correct lead it felt much better i was seated when all of a sudden he lost his marbles under neath me. Aparently he did a flying lead change and had no idea what just happened and had a bit of a melt down, i managed to stay on and chalked that up for a win as well and we called it quits.

Im feeling super down on myself today i cant wait to get out to the barn on saturday and work on all the things we learned and try to have a better ride. As always though G was a fantastic boy trying his hardest to do what we were asking i am very lucky for that and to have such a forgiving partner because im sure while i was riding yesterday he was like wtf....

I do however need to get a saddle fitter out because im starting to really worry that my saddle is doing harm to G's back.. i have been noticing a few hot spots along his spine and am thinking about getting a bareback pad and riding that way for a little big while i sell my saddles, get a saddle fitter out and save up for a new saddle.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Not as good as we thought. Saddle search

I had another ride the other day which i have not posted about yet so i should catch up while it is so slow at work.

While tacking G up on Sunday i had yet ANOTHER run in with the birds at our barn, this time it was not the pigeons. I was brushing G out when i saw something small fly behind me then a big mass of black and white fying right at my face. It scared the crap out of me and after i regained my composure i realised this stupid magpie was trying to kill a little brown bird that was taking refuge behind me, so after throwing my dressage whip at the magpie it went away. The little brown bird was terrified it didnt even fly away until i (for what ever reason) tried to pick it up and it flew away to hide ontop of our feed room. No suprise my horse that spooks at practically everything didnt even flinch while all of this going on... of course not its no fun to spook unless mom is on his back and he is able to temporarily displace me in the saddle lol.

Anyways the ride was a bit of a fight we really struggled to keep contact on the bit at a walk and a trot. So once he gave a little we did something else, lots and lots of trot work pushing into those scary corners and working on using my legs not my hands in the turns seems like i have been doing a lot of this lately but practice makes perfect right...

I figured that i had so much control at the trot that we should canter... even just a little bit to get started on our canter work... but of course we didnt because i am to much of a chicken S**T. I have come so far with Gjonstone but something about the canter still makes me really nervous, as soon as i start to ask for it i brace for it and tense my entire upper body which i know will just result in a disaster so it makes me more nervous because i cant seem to convince myself to relax and just go with it like i am able to do at a walk, trot and when he has his moments of complete chaos which can either come in the form of dropping a shoulder and bolting the other way or just running off with me on his back while he stretched his head as high as possible resembling a giraffe being chased by lions.

Maybe i need to get someone to lunge G while i ride a canter and get used to the movement and get a little more confidence in that gait... i can handle it when he does it himself but asking him to do it causes me to come completely unhinged and i know he can feel that because he definatly either responds negatively and spooks or bolts or he just ignores me all together because of my lack of confidence.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My Trainer leaves in 4 weeks to move back to B.C so i dont really want to work on the Canter stuff with her because i can do that with the other girl i was taking lessons with but i really want to get this gait down because then it is just the fine tuning (picking up correct leads, contact) then we can start preparing for next year and our competitions. (i dream big what can i say lol, when i put pressure on myself like this i obtain my goals it makes me work harder).

I have also started searching somewhat for a new saddle and saving my money, i currently ride in a Paris Tack Dressage saddle that has done great up until now but i am finding that my back is sore my inner thighs and my pelvis throb all after riding. G is also starting to get some hot spots on his back.. so more bareback riding it is and more research and possibly when i can afford it... getting a saddle fitter out.

I have been hearing great things about
-Frank Baines
-Hastilow Custom (another blogger recently purchased this and is loving it, Elevation)

Those are the ones i keep hearing about and have read a lot about and of course the idea of a custom saddle and one that can change with my horse seems like a great idea... the price... well out of my price range. But! if it makes me and my horse happy then it is worth saving up for...

(sorry this post is all over the map i am at work trying to get it in, in between clients)

Monday, 18 June 2012

By george we've got it!

Saturday was a quick ride night because i was suppose to have a date later that night so i have just enough time to get in about 30 mins.

I have been slacking on lunging G before riding him i think that it is good for both of us to mix up the routine a bit, he is by no means hard to handle if he hasnt been lunged he just has a little more... spunk... we will call it that really helps to teach me to keep my bum in the saddle.

The ride went great he picked the contact up right away at the walk and was fairly consistant at holding it and even if we did lose it he would offer it again after a minute or so. Im sure his neck gets sore holding it in that position since he does not have the muscle built up for it yet so i dont get annoyed or try to force him back into the frame i let him take a minute to stretch out a bit and when he offers it again i will take the contact back up. I allow him to tell me when he is ready here because when i DO ask for it he is more than willing to pick it up.

Our frame is not the same as it was during my lesson on Wednesday he seems alittle stiff in the neck and will not get as round as he was during the lesson, but i have another lesson this wednesday and i will have T address that. I can tell that this is hard for him because occasionally he will toss his head and do a little crow hop before giving in to what i am asking.

We worked on contact at the walk and the trot and it went really well, im looking forward to another lesson so we have some more to work on.

However.... in our arena there are some pigeons that have decided to turn it into their home, this was fine when there was a nest and babies living in it but the babies have long since been gone and the adult pigeons just wont let go of the arena. They will fly right at you while your riding which is a HUGE hazard on horse back, especially when your a little girl about birds like i am and find them terrifying without them trying to attack you. If  you open the barn door they will fly out just to return to the closed door 5 minutes later, they will make such a big commotion on the other side of the door until you let them in. G is usually fine for the most part in the arena but as soon as he notices these stupid birds he comes unhinged, During our ride he suddenly caught site of them and took off taking a sharp turn at one end of the arena, had this happened a few months ago i would have been eating dirt.... i lost my stirrup on the outside when he made the sharp turn and was half way off his back on the inside. Thank goodness for my stronger leg muscles and seat because somehow i managed to use my knee on the outside to help keep me somewhat in the saddle and i didnt even use my hands to get rebalanced... went very well i was quite proud of myself lol maybe i am ready for starting our canter work.... maybe....

You know your a horse person when your super proud of how well you stay on or how well you land when you do get tossed.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Update on the Barn Search

A few weeks ago i posted about a barn that i was going to look at and i just wanted to follow up on that post, i decided to stay were i am for now and keep searching for a barn, i do have until my divorce is finalized to keep my horse were he is now so i am in no rush unless i find something that i just cannot pass up.

***Please keep in mind these are my personal opinions and everyones views things differently and treats their horses differently so this is not intended in any way to be bashing the barn or the trainer nothing like that just reasons why it wasnt the right fit for me or my horse at this time***

A Barn Review  

Location- Was amazing it was nice and close to my house and on the way home it would cut my driving time in half. Its about 10 minutes off of a paved road so there is a lot more places to ride and it is a lot more quiet and relaxing than were i currently am.

Hours- I work 2 jobs and silly hours so i usually end up riding fairly late at night and since this barn is on someones personal property and there are small children present they request that you are not there before 7AM or after 10PM which would make it even harder for me to get riding in than in already is with how hectic my schedule is, I completely respect this time frame and it is a really open time frame compared to some other barns i have ridden at they definatly stay open later than some barns in this area.

Tack Lockers- Right now i am spoiled and have a nice big tack box that fits both of my saddles and my feed and everything else horsey related, at this barn they are fairly small room for one saddle and the things that you would need on a regular basis preventing pack rats like me from moving into the barn *ha ha* but they are very accomodating as well and allow people to keep rubbermade containers in the storage sheds and ontop of the tack boxes for extra things that might be needed.

Feed- They feed the horses 4x a day which is fantastic G's weight issue would be gone very quickly with that feeding schedule. I cant remember exactly but it was hay 3x a day and custom feed 1x a day they didnt however feed beetpulp unless you bought it and paid extra for it since they used mainly grain. Which is fair enough i could have done the beet pulp myself on the days that i rode with the ground flax i currently have G on to put on some weight.

Barn its self- The flooring was cobble stone, they had wash racks with heat lamps tack stalls, and beautiful big box stalls with 2 big airy doors at either end of the barn to make it night and cool inside the barn as well as bright. As soon as i walked into the barn i was in love it was kept so clean and tidy and best of all... no dirt floor like i have at my current barn.

Indoor arena-Nice dressage size arena with sand footing and a viewing area that has a big door that is kept open in the summer, sand is treated (cant remember with what) to keep the dust down, nicest arena i have ever been in by far.

Outdoor arena- was currently under renovations which is good because the old one looked like a sand box it was very small and hard to tell were the edges were since the wooden railties that had grass growing over them. There were also a few caveleties(sp?) that could be set up outside if you wanted.

Outdoor board- outdoor board was alright it was a big feild with 2 horses and at the top of the feild they had a shelter and water, the pasture was very nice because there was only the 2 horses on it at any time.

Indoor board- This was the only thing that really turned me off about this barn, im not sure if all showy barns are like this or not but i felt a little  bad for the horses... The horses were turned out at 7AM and brought back in at around 4pm. While turned out they were in individual paddocks which ok thats not a big deal they were close enough to each other the horses were still able to socialize, but the paddocks were tiny little rectangles with old wood fencing and a little wooden wind block not even a shelter. The horses had no room to move around it really turned me off. I know those horses are heavily in training and im sure there is a really good reason to it but i just couldnt picture G in there.

How ever i will be looking to possibly get a few lessons out of there on lesson horses if it is an option and when i can afford it because regardless she is still a very talented trainer and i have a ton of respect for her and her riding as well as the overall care of the horses there was fantastic. Just not a place that i could see G and i long term.

I guess i am a little more picky than i had thought.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Learning contact *videos*

Finally i figured it out so here are the vidoes i promised in my last post. These are about half way through so it isnt perfect yet and G is still trying to figure out exactly what it is my Trainer is asking. As i said before this is NOT be riding and my trainer hates my saddle lol.

Lesson #8 Contact and Birthdays

Poor G, today was his birthday and we celebrated it by having an awesome lesson with my favorite trainer. Sorry if this post is full of spelling errors it is late at night and i am trying to use my T.V to write this post and unfortunatly the web page doesnt get big enough for me to see it super good and the heating pad just feels way to darn good on my back to move. so anywayr;

Today was G's 6th birthday, i thought it was on mothers day but according to his registration papers (which i recently recieved YAY me) June 13th is his birthday.

My favorite trainer T is leaving in 4-5 weeks to move back to B.C so i finally managed to get a few lessons from her for the next couple weeks before she leaves. Ill be very sad when she goes because i have learned more from her about myself and how to ride than anyone else in the short period that i have known her.

Tonight we worked on contact with the bit and engaging the hind end. G and i had not done any work on this prior because i was not sure how to ask properly for such a big thing like contact with the bit. T taught me to keep my outside rain tight and give with my inside rein while keepiing pressure with my inside leg to keep G straight forward and prevent him from turning his head, then gently give and take with my inside rein until he started to give to the pressure. He did fantastic for me going to the left took about 5 minutes of him having to figure out what i was asking then he started to get the hang of it, it wasnt perfect but i was completely happy with it. To the right i struggled to keep my inside leg on mostly due to the fact that that is his "bad" direction and my bad hip/pelvis so it is something we will need to work on majorly is building those muscles up so 1) he is not always compensating for me on that side and 2) im strong enough to keep the leg pressure on long enough to get a response.

My favorite thing about T is if she is having a hard time judging whether it is the horse or the rider she will ask you to get off and try it out herself so she can better explain what you need to do for each individual horse to get the desired result, i have never met a trainer like her and im sure i never will when she leaves *sad face*. She decided to get on G and work with him on the contact because i was struggling to that side, i trust her with my horse and trust her judgement so i let her do what she needed to do to get where she wanted him to be. I have a few vidoes of G starting to come into the bit at a walk and a trot, this is not me riding its my trainer.

After she was done what seemed like an endless battle she had me get back on so i could see and feel the difference for my next few rides so we are able to continue working on it. When i was on the ground it looked awesome when he finally came into the right frame and engaged his hind end more. When i got on it took very little to get him to come back to the bit his neck was so rounded i could hardly see his ears he was not pulling on my hands nothing and his trot felt amazing it was so forward and fluid we even went into a trot were it felt so graceful like we were gliding around the arena, i am very impressed he picked it up very quickly i am just hoping that when i go out again tomorrow morning (after his day off) he will remember what i am asking him and be able to get back into that frame.

I was trying to get some videos on for you i am going to try again today because for whatever reason my youtube and my phone are not connecting which makes me sad. I cant wait to get out and ride him tomorrow i am on cloud nine right now, contact was something i was expecting to take a long time we will for sure be a team to watch out for in our area next year.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Bad Blogger Bad!

I am sorry for such a long leave of absense i have been so incredibly busy the last little bit with weddings, working 2 jobs, birthdays and everything else on top of that. Im exhausted summer is such a busy time for us at work the only upside is that i make commission so the extra money is really helping out with the debt.

I have only been able to get out to see G about 2x a week but now that things have calmed down im going to start lessons back up with T again on Wednesday nights since she doesnt mind teaching me and making sure that my son isnt burning down the barn at the same time. As much as i was enjoying getting cheaper lessons i feel like i have somewhat surpassed her after watching her ride, and she doesnt challenge me enough my posting trot is really good now id like to get the canter down with G but she doesnt think we are ready even though i feel ready. Where as T pushes me and challenges me, i guess im just not as patient as i thought i was lol.

G has had shoes on his fronts now for almost 6 weeks and he seems to love it. He has even started to pick his feet up with very little coaxing which is amazing. We are also working on the handling of his feet and legs a lot more also because every day before riding we do some stretches. He especially LOVES when i bring his front leg forward and straighten them out he usually will push into the stretch a little more and his eyes get all glossy and as soon as im done with one he starts lifting the other for me to finish on the other side.

We have been doing a lot of work on our trot in the arena there really isnt anything he can do to throw me off balance in the saddle at this point, i am able to transition a little bit easier. Our transition to a walk could use a little more work. We have also started working through Dressage 101 (my favorite book ever!).

G's feed is still the same for the most part i have recently added ground Flax to his beet pulp i give him on the days that i ride to help try and get him to put on weight. It has resulted in amazingly shiny and soft fur he looks fantastic and now that he is getting all the muscle he looks like a horse that is worked not a pasture ornament i love it!

Yesterday i built up the courage to give riding bareback a shot, when i got on G was a little concerned because it felt weird... he also would try to get into a trot here and there but it was amazing feeling him move under neath me. I have ridden bareback before but never on G he was just always to spunky and spooky for me i didnt feel comfortable but i finally went for it and now we will be doing it more often.

I believe that is a quick and to the point post trying to get everyone caught up. I have a few more whiney posts about relationships and how they suck but ill save that for my other blog. And now for a few pictures of G <3

View from up top
 Gosh he seems like i giant in that picture lol compared to the 8ft fence we are riding next too!
Thanks for brushing all the mud off me mom <3
Doesnt he look super shiny! im gonna try to get some better pictures of him these angled pictures dont do him justice. I also need to do something about his mane its terrible! Any ideas? Other than roaching it