Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Latest Doings

Flying changes are coming along. She is about 60% right to left and 80% left to right. She always gets the front; it's just a matter of getting the hind.

This is a recent video of our flat. Even since then, her "jog" has come along. Yesterday I got a few steps of the super-collected, slow step I have been looking for. Her lope is still a work in progress. It feels unnatural to me, but it's funny. I had tried schooling her for dressage for a little bit yesterday and she really, really hated it. I guess the proof is in the pudding.

Got a job at the hospital, so hopefully that means I can get some lessons in WP soon. I think she could be competitive as even on the longe she is very, very slow legged and deep hocked- much more so than when I am on. I really just want to play to her strengths and enjoy her, so I am game for anything.

Our jumping is coming along beautifully as well. We are schooling 2'3-2'6 courses now and seem to have found a rhythm. We very rarely get nasty spots anymore now that I understand "forward." Started working on little oxers again as I really, really have a hard time with them, and surprise surprise they are no longer terrofying. I mean, they are made of cavaletti, but still...

Battle of the Barns 2011

So the Bunster and I had an epiphany Friday night, after several thousand refusals and a very strong desire to throw up. The whole riding forward to the fence thing? It finally clicked.

Saturday, she and I dominated. We placed top three in every class over fences and won all the flat. We did two divisions and by the end of the day I was ready to pass out. All in all, a very good birthday.

Showed Miracle in the cross rails. She was very good for her first time in the covered arena, although she tried to make an unplanned exit in our first xrail course. After that, she behaved. I bombed our xrails eq class, which is sad in itself as I was unaware it was eq and was focusing on trying to keep her brains in her head.

I have pictures but Blogger is being dumb and won't let me upload.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guess who has flying changes now?

Oh, Bunster. You are amazing. Today, it clicked with us. The timing, the straightness. It clicked and I have never been so proud of her. Love this little mare. Just schooled her lightly to build our confidence and check that everything is ready for this weekend. I am, for once, not anxious about this show. I feel prepared and happy and like Bunny and I are going to kick some preteen ass.

Miracle was a good girl too. She has really started to calm down for me, thank goodness. With her, I have to concentrate on what will boost her confidence in my contact and make her the most relaxed and tractable, whereas with Bunny I work on refinement and getting a perfect response every time. Once Miracle is relaxed, she is like a wet noodle in your hand, albeit a very unbalanced wet noodle. So different, but I have already noticed the quiet demeanor I have to take with the slightly explosive DWB translating into how I ride Bunny- hands are quieter, legs still. I am sure she appreciates it too. Again, love her love her love her, but sometimes I know I don't do right by her in terms of reward and patience. God bless her.

Both mares are going to do well, I think. Because I am not showing both days like I had anticipated, Bun and I are yet again plopping around the Green horse division. Which is fine I guess, as much as I had hoped we could move up. We have come so far so fast- Patti remarked on how much looser she is through the back and just how happy she looks. I am thrilled- I love dressage and am obviously taking that path with the little warmblood, but with Bunny's low neck set and temperament, she really flourishes under the westerny training. I think riding really requires a bit of inner mad scientist- a desire to figure out what works best for horse x, y, and z while being willing to try methods you wouldn't normally use. Of course, this is all within the confines of being a sympathetic rider, but that speaks for itself.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Regularly scheduled Bunny

Anyways, back to the Bunster. We have been busy. My broke ass is shelling out all of my money for top of the line feed, which I am happy to do, but it means I have to skimp somewhere, meaning lessons. Ironically, Patti sold her lesson horse, so she needs a solid walk/trotter for her chilluns. This means I get a free lesson for every lesson Bun is used for, which is fantabulous as she needs some time just walking and trotting on a loose rein and I need the instruction.

She is so cute with the little kids too. We have been working toward her Quarter Horsey roots, so lots of jog/lope work with her butt up under her when I ride. She seems to realize these gentle gaits sit well with the beginners and has just naturally taken to using them unless squeezed into a trot. One of the little kids was learning to post, and she just went round and round on a long rein and even stopped when she got unbalanced and tippy. So cute. She really pokes her nose and stretches out too, so I am glad for her to be able to work the kinks out.

Such a good mind on that mare. Love her to pieces.

Anyways, us. I have decided if I strike oil or Bunny decides she hates jumping, we are going to foray into the magical land of Western pleasure. I want her to be well-rounded and able to do just about anything, and I have absolutely fallen in love with the pleasure horses. She would never stand up to stiff competition, but for local stuff? Why not.

In terms of lessons and stuff, we are working on my confidence. She and I are so good together, but I really have to be an aggressive rider and give her the support she needs. This is painful to watch, but here you go. She tells me when I am riding poorly, for sure. We were so out of synch in this.

Various things/ new pony to play with

OK, so a few updates. Bunnerino and I are going to attempt the 2'3 provided Tropical Storm Emily doesn't rain us out. I am also showing Miracle, a six year old Dutch Warmblood mare I have been riding, and Patti's horse Aeros in his flat classes so she can teach her other riders. I love being at this barn, haha.

Let me tell you a little about Miracle, which burns me up. Her owners have fifteen horses, eleven of which live on their shithole five acre property. They have two stallions, neither of which are handleable and one which is sporting a fist-sized gash in his chest. They do everything so bass-ackwards: they just had a horse die this week of a twisted gut and all but refused to call a vet, yet they are installing an arena. They have a mare who is foundering and supposed to be confined to stall rest, but they turned her out because they think she'd be happier. They are just generally idiots and the finest of fine white trash. Miracle is homebred out of one of their original horses, is a daughter of Freestyle with the papers to prove it, and is so named because she was born extremely premature and survived by the skin of her teeth. They have money but no sense to go along with it. I blame inbreeding.

Anyways, Miracle is at Countryside for training after having her mouth torn out by an incompetent trainer down the road. Patti is riding their other two horses on property but as they are not paying their fees and she doesn't have time to ride five horses and give as many lessons every day, we discussed it with the owner and Miracle is basically mine to play with until the end of the year.

One of her many challenges is her tendency to lock her jaw and just PULL. She is the most unrhythmic horse I have ever sat upon and is very leery of any contact. Yet she is extremely intelligent and has so much "try" you just have to love her. Patti basically restarted her from the ground up and she has come miles under her schooling, but she still has that residual distrust of new riders. I have bloody blisters to prove it from my first ride, where we spent thirty minutes doing transitions and trying to keep her from running off.

Here is video from our second ride. She is a little short strided as she is eight weeks into her trim cycle. (AGH!) You can see, however, that she is catching on. I was thinking (mistakenly) that a sponging action on the inside rein would soften her up, but she is so tense through her jaw that she just waggled her head. I know better now after seeing the video. Different horse from Bun- with her, a light vibration of the inside rein cues her to reach into my contact.

Anyways, today was even better. I am having to learn to take a different tack with her- slow, soft work, fixing my hands in one place and pushing her into the contact. As soon as she accepts it, I soften a little and praise her. She is like riding a two-by-four in terms of bending and has no lateral balance to speak of (again, very very green) so lots of gentle circles (which are a huge challenge for her in themselves) and stretchy-trot work. She picked up both leads for me today too, after a LOT of encouragement and flexing her to the outside to blind her outside shoulder. *sigh* I hate doing that, but she would NOT stay up in her shoulder unless I did so. She is flat and unbalanced but has stride to burn- love how she moves in that respect. As soon as her tootsies are done we will start incorporating poles and cavaletti. At the show, we are planning on trotting the crossrails course. If it were up to me I wouldn't show her until she was balanced, but her owners want the exposure and heck, she is super game and it will be good for her.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I love my mare I love my mare I love my mare I love my mare. And the new barn, and my trainer, and all of the lovely little things that go along with horse ownership. I will post something coherent later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


So yesterday's ride was nothing short of a clusterf***, and hrgh. Just bad, and entirely my fault. I am in a bit of a rush to get things under way for BoTB this year- hoping to move up to 2'3 with her. Obviously, rushing training does NOTHING but make things more difficult.

See, Bunny has a dirty stop to her. It's generally my fault, i.e. I drop her in front of the fence or am not committed to a distance, but nonetheless she can slam on the brakes. I think HER confidence is a little rattled, and mine has never been 100% so it makes for a less than ideal situation. In my wee little brain, I thought, "Hey! Let's set up a gymnastic and set the final fence to 2'3! Yay!" So I did, not taking into account the fact that a.) Bunny has not been able to open her stride up to 12' yet as she is out of shape, and b.) she had not been over that fence before. So you can imagine how this went- she overjumped it by abooouuuut two feet. I got left, only reinforcing her nervousness. Second time through she tried to run out and I got her with my spur in time, but got left again. Third time, she said "Oh HELL no!" and came to a screeching halt. I stayed on fine, but ugh.

So we went through it the other way without any horrible issues. I lowered it for the rest of the work, and we toddled on merrily without issue. I figured I would take her over the outside single a few times and get it over with, so we trotted up to it, she overjumped, I grabbed mane but still got left. Second time, she hit it, which rattled her. I put it down so it was just the flower box for the third time, which she jumped fine, but the next time I came to it she tried to run at it two strides out then slid to a stop, launching me over her shoulder. Hrgh. I smacked her, jumped back on, and spent the next brief eternity coaxing her over it from a walk. Miserable.