Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Riding

Saturday I took a lesson on Grace and it was my first lesson in weeks on her. I was all disorganized and I could tell the trainer was being patient because she'd done all this work with Grace the last couple of weeks and didn't want me let Grace take advantage of me. They're trying to finish her and even think she's ready for the APHA show in Fallon, NV. That was a surprise because I didn't think they thought she was competive for APHA but she's been doing really well. Her jog is so much lighter then before when she was still pretty heavy in front. Finally Beth the assistant trainer recommended that I close my eyes and try to feel when she had the jog right. All of a sudden I was so much more aware of my balance and my body as well as hers. I could feel her the second BEFORE she started to speed up and was able to catch it.

We worked on turning my toes out to use my spurs and where her buttons are for shoulders, ribs and hips. This all seems to basic but its just slightly different then when riding english with no spurs which is what I've always done. By the end I could get a pivot, sidepass and disengage her hips on cue. Yay! My biggest problem is that I need to learn to ride without my hands now. I'm so used to steering with them to some degree and you don't have that luxury with a WP horse. Your reins are too long to use them for anything but to tell the horse some leg cue is coming.

Closing my eyes allowed me to turn inward and focus on where my body was and how little shifts changed what Grace was doing. It was a very good lesson, and I finally had her staying on the rail relaxed at a real jog. I asked the trainer if she thought I could get away with riding at the show with my eyes closed. :) Wouldn't that be fun? LOL.

I took that lesson and tried it on Tax the next day. It's a little scarier riding the big, fast guy with my eyes closed but as Beth pointed out you can always just open them. So, we practiced our posting trot and transitions without me looking. I finally felt like I nailed a couple of trot to walk transitions without him pulling on me. Yay again! We also walked and troted some ground poles with my eyes shut so I could just try to be consistent instead of anticipating where the poles are. Went much better than I expected.

Yep, it was a good weekend...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo Friday

Also, this is what happens when mom gets distracted by her horse being a creep. No pants, one sock, shoes on the wrong feet and shirt on backward. And although you can't see it he's covered in a fine layer of dust from rolling himself around in the indoor arena.

These are from Butte Star on our last Cattle Drive. I love this first pic. The guy, Duane is our barn owner and horse shoer. You can almost hear that story he's telling Sister. We have a great time hanging out with Duane.

Jerry and his cutting horse. That little bay is an awesome cow horse.

Very scary jumps

Tax's trainer had a very minor surgery this week so she asked me if I wanted to come out and ride the big guy last night. Of course I did! And here's what happened.

Someone had dragged all the jump standards to the sides of the arena to drag it. Tax says - How dare they!?! Apparently jump standards in the middle of the arena = not scary. Jump standards that move "all on their own" to the sides of the arena = very very scary.

Weird. Tax isn't usually very spooky but he was NOT going to relax and go past those creepy things. I had warmed up at the end of the arena, so the first lap around the arena I picked up an easy posting trot. As we came around the far corner he stopped and started flying backward with that "I might just spin and bolt" tenseness you can feel in every muscle. I got him stopped, calmed him down and tried again at a walk but the whole time he was dancing around and wanting to be silly. Finally I had him walking past them but every time we came around at the trot he would counterbend and do that silly prancing, distracted thing while he moved sideways threatening to teleport. Sigh.

I finally got smart and decided to get down and move them out of the way a little. Tax decided he all of a sudden doesn't trust me. His feelings are hurt because I let the trainer ride him all the time now and he likes her better anyway. She doesn't get disorganized and give confusing cues and then get all mad at him when he doesn't get it. LOL Tax pulled back when I went to move the jump and I lost my grip on the reins. He took advantage and ran away from the scary jump as fast as he could. Of course no one saw that I'd gotten down, they just saw a loose crazy horse running around the arena and I had the guys come running down to make sure I wasn't hurt. Nope...just feeling dumb, thanks.

I collected my horse and moved the jumps. One I had to set upright and push against the fence. They're light things made from PVC though so that was nice when I was moving them. I got everything moved and Tax seemed to be realizing they didn't actually eat horse flesh. I dragged him up the fence a little and started getting ready to climb on. I was kind of fighting him because he wanted to eat the grass at the edge of the arena and was being a creep. I took a step in front of him to get around to the fence side. What the heck was I thinking?!? I know better than to walk right in front of my horse. The evil jump standard took this as it's opportunity and fell over right behind us just as I got myself in front of Tax and he caught the movement in the corner of his eye.

OH MY LORD! Did you see it just try to make a grab for me? I imagine Tax saying it all know after he barrelled me over. I was lucky. I didn't get hurt. I'm usually a careful person and it really made me think about getting lazy and taking the safety stuff for granted.

I got back on and we did nothing but walk past the scary area until he seemed really relaxed. I'd ask him to bend correctly going past them in a circle and just play with my inside rein a little to make him pay attention to me. Finally we got a nice big relaxed hunter trot past the jumps and called it quits for the day.

That was exhausting and my butt hurts from using my legs and posting. Poor me! Hopefully my lesson today will go better.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A special treat

I went through old photos and broke out the scanner finally.

You've read about him and now here he is! This is Applejack my POA. My poor un-horsey mom is actually doing a great job here trying to get him to model for the pic. He was fat with a terrible hind end but look at those feet. He never needed shoes. He loved to run and jump and was an excellent gymkana horse.

I loved his face. I like a nice straight nose.

This was Philly, one of Alicia's horses. I learned a lot taking lessons on this horse.
This is a very unflattering picture of Blaze her dressage horse. I swear he was very cute. I realize here he looks like a pregnant mare that's foundered but it's a really bad angle. And all of our horses were a little fat. This place fed maybe a little too well.
Next up pics of me jumping Cody, my first TB...