Archive for May, 2008

anna banana did me proud!

So I’m up riding Anna last night (second TWO great rides yesterday! :D). I’m also riding around with that BO (NOT my dressage trainer) who was on her just broke almost two year old in draw reins 😈 We really were having a grand old time, chatting, and then trotting laps around the arena (Anna’s pony legs moving about as fast as they could, trying to keep up wtih the 3/4 TB we were following!)…we’re two COMPLETELY different ends of the spectrum when it comes to horse training, but we just kind of cheer eachother on and have a good time anyhow.

Now, that BO’s youngest daughter Emily (7 or 8 ish) HAD been leasing a cute little pony. Who turned out, like many cute 10 hand ponies, to not really be trained, to have a biting problem, and to have a bucking problem. So this girl is TOTALLY horse crazy, but was scared pretty badly. They just sent the pony home a couple of weeks ago. Well, Emily is hanging on the fence watching us goof around, and eventually starts begging her mom to ride. Mom explains that no, the green two year old who spooks a lot isn’t really an appropriate mount, she’ll ride the old mare when she comes home and the foal is weaned. So Emily goes back to watching us and whining. Eventually I finish up and ask Emily’s mom if I can put her on Anna. Mom says sure, go for it.

So I ask Emily if she’d like to ride Anna. And the poor girl just freezes.
“Is she good?”
“VERY good”
“Does she buck?”
“Does she like other horses?”
“Yep, and we can stay far away from your mom if you want”
“I don’t know…are you SURE she’s good?”
“Very sure. I promise”
“Has she ever had other people on her?”
“Emily, you watched my friend Lindsay jumping her last week! And you’ve seen my mom ride her too.”
“Oh, that’s right”
“Will you stay next to me?”
“Of course” 🙂

So I finally get the kid up on Anna, and I’m leading them around. At first the kid is tense and quiet, and then she just starts chattering away. And we’re walking laps around and she’s happy as a clam. At one point I asked if she’d like to trot and her eyes got really big again. She started telling me how she trotted a couple times on her pony but he bucked each time, and she doesn’t really feel comfortable trotting. So I told her no big deal, we’d stick with whatever she wanted to do. And back to chattering she went (really, you can’t shut this kid up off a horse either…I heard all about her frog that got out, her mean big sister who pushed her off the trampoline and tried to pick her up by her ears!, the dog that tried to do something…)

Eventually she looks at me and asks, “Is she good at trotting?”
😆 “Very good”
“Will she buck?”
“Nope, she won’t buck”
“Will she stop?”
“Yep, just tell her whoa. And I’ll stay right with you”

So down one long side I jogged along with them and she bounced around happy as could be. Stopped no problem at the end, walked back up, and without telling me nudged Anna back into a trot for the next pass! 😀 So now I’m running at Anna’s butt, but at the end of the side Emily just said whoa and she stopped. Then she has to call her mom over to watch (and mom appologized for roping me into a lesson :p ). Eventually I got sick of running and offered up a lunge line (had one hanging on the arena gate).

Emily contently sat in the middle of the arena, patting Anna’s shoulder while I walked over to get the line. It’s barely attached and she’s nudging Anna back into a trot. The kid went from TERRIFIED to trotting endless laps without a break. Anna, the saint, put her head down and just plugged along. If Emily got too far forward, she’d stop. If Emily got too far back, she’d stop. If Emily actually said whoa, she’d stop. But otherwise she just kept on trotting around, slow and steady. Emily learned a little about posting so it wasn’t quite so bouncy, and was pretty good at sitting three or four and then coming up once. And then she announced that it’s a LOT easier to go UP if you move WITH the horse 😆 Yes, yes it is.

Next thing I hear is, “Is she good at jumping?” 😯 Yes, but that comes much later! Back to trotting on the lunge. Up down up down up down.

It was DARK before I managed to pull her off the horse, and now she’s begging her mom for me to give her lessons on Anna. Not sure I’m prepared to actually make a thing of it (that would definitely involve sucking it up and giving up my ammy status), and not sure yet if my mom is keeping Anna (almost have her convinced not to!) or when this old broodmare is coming back for the kid to ride.

And then like a good little horsekeeper Emily followed me back down to the barn, brushed Anna and gave her mouthful of hay while she actually (verbally) thanked her 😀

But Anna was just wonderful with this little kid, who is now slightly less terrified of riding!


May 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

snow-pony pictures!

It’s been a while, and I’ve had a few requests for pictures of the Snow-pone now that she’s four and practically all growed up and has a few muscles 😉 No riding pictures (that was not conducive to my well-being or solid bones today!), but I do finally have some clear pictures of Snow taken this YEAR! She’s looking fabulous, and I couldn’t be happier!

As a reminder, this is what she looked like when I brought her
home at two and a half:

May 25, 2008 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

so an interesting thing happened…

I sat back, used my LEG, let go of the inside rein….and Anna came onto the bit 😛 (really…that’s pretty much never happened before)

Actually, when I first started I noticed pretty quickly that I had at least 6″ more inside rein than outside. ESPECIALLY going left (suppose that does make sense, given that I can’t seem to sit down to the left, so I guess I’m probably trying to use the rein to compensate?). I’m going to switch her laced reins out for reins with stops so I’m more aware of being even on the reins with her as well.

Then…the less inside rein and the more inside leg I was using the better bent through the ribcage and relaxed in the jaw she was (go figure…I know I know :-P). So then I was thinking that it didn’t FEEL even on the reins to me. They were even as in distance from the bit to my hand, but not the amount of contact (as in, I only had any contact on the outside rein). And then I realized….duh…that’d be the whole outside rein thing, huh?


May 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm 2 comments

an interesting revelation…

mostly thanks to a non-horse person!

Well, maybe not mostly, but here’s the story.

I had to have my wisdom teeth out. No big deal, but between cramming everything else in before surgery and then a week off after, I opted to have somebody else work my greenie for the two weeks I’d be out of the saddle. We had JUST started cantering under saddle, making some great progress, and I didn’t want to give her the time off.

Well, a funny thing happens when you hand your horse off to GP trainer for a couple weeks – she learns that YOU don’t know $hit 😆

That’s not really it, of course. For whatever reason, my first ride back (under supervision!), I was nervous. Tense. Wouldn’t get off the inside rein, despite hearing “get off the flexion rein. Get off the flexion rein. GET OFF THE FLEXION REIN!!” Eventually, my mare wanted to follow another horse back to the barn, and I panicked and pulled on the reins. The sensitive mare shut down and then I shut down and we both lost all control. I SHOULD add that her response was to trot away with me into the shaving pile, so we’re not talking about anything really BAD in the scheme of riding mishaps. 😆 But the ride itself was very eye-opening. I don’t know why I reverted back to old nervous riding habits when I’d made so much progress over the last year, but I did.

I replayed the ride over and over and over for the rest of the day, cringing each time. I rode again the next day, also under supervision. I set the goal for myself to stay relaxed, even if that meant backing MYSELF down a notch or two from where we had left off. If I could only stay relaxed for a few strides of trot rather than several circles, that’s all I’d do. And with that goal set I did much better. And I also got off before anything could go wrong causing me to tense up. I was literally on her for about five minutes total.

Tonight I rode again, this time alone, and with the trainer setting my goal of work her for an hour (including lunging). In other words, I had to stay on for longer than five minutes 😀 It went well enough. I was pathetically nervous. Literally SHAKING right after I mounted. I DID stay on her for a significant amount of time (using two other riders as my guide, though I admit to wondering how many different figures they could POSSIBLY have left to school?? 😆 ). And we had some good work. I kept the trotting sessions pretty short still, and was very focused on giving with the rein. I DID give a wide berth to the door/shavings pile though 😆

So anyhow, I was chatting with a non-horsey friend later on, and he asked how things were going. I said horrible. I’m tense, I’m nervous, Saturday I was all over her face for no reason…
He commented that it was strange, that I’m not nervous around horses (like he is :P). He pointed out that this horse had never done anything wrong. She hasn’t tossed me. Hasn’t come close. She’s never been deliberately BAD under saddle. So he asked me what I was afraid of. At the time I had no answer, but of course it stuck with me and I kept thinking about it. And I finally landed on it. I’m afraid of doing it wrong. I’m pretty sure that’s all there is to it. I hate the vast difference between how loose and relaxed my girl felt when I got on immediately after GP trainer, and how tense she was when I got off.

Out at the other barn, with the greenie I just sold, there were no rules, no guidelines, nothing to help me out except past experiences. I did a lot wrong, yes. But the horse knew no different, I didn’t change my expectations, and she made progress. And the western/all around folks who bought her were very pleased with what she knew. I just played around.

But with Snow…well I have goals for her. For myself. Big ones. She’s my little FEI pony. That was the goal from the day I bought her, no matter how crazy a few folks thought I was. And like many others here, the more I learn the less I know. It’s not really that I’m afraid of screwing her up. I’m really not. It’s just that I don’t WANT to. It’s not fair to her for me to yank on her face. And I’m not perfect (not that anybody is). I love and hate that when I do it right she goes BEAUTIFULLY, and so I know darn well when I’m doing things wrong. And the worse job I do the worse she goes (until she shuts down).

So yes, I have fear issues. But the interesting problem is that I know she’ll only do it wrong if I do. So I think I get worked up about making mistake, that I tense up and make one anyhow. 🙄

I’m going to make mistakes. We both are. And it’s no big deal and we’re going to live through them and progress anyhow. And I just have to stay as relaxed as possible while making them. Now if anybody here can actually get that through my head I’ll give you a pony ride 😉

May 19, 2008 at 10:59 pm 3 comments

on riding sensitive mares

When they’re pretty much doing nothing wrong and you panic anyhow and react by pulling on the rein, they’re GOING shut down mentally.

When they shut down and you STILL haven’t given the rein or booted them forward, they’re going to run away with you (yes, even at the trot, it’s running away with you).

When they run away with you into the 5′ high pile of shavings, it’s kind funny 😀

May 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment

hmpf…i miss my pony

I have the strongest urge to go see my pony right now, so I just thought I’d vent here where other people might understand 😉

Wednesdays are my crazy days, but otherwise, I see my girl every day. Frequently I don’t have time to RIDE, I try to at least lunge, but even if I only groom her, I go see her.

Well I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday and my head is pounding and I’m still drugged up and going to see her is NOT an option right now (not to mention that the barn is closed for the night now anyhow), but gosh I have the strongest urge to go see her!

I’m fortunate enough to be able to have her worked while I’m out of the saddle for the next week or so, and I’m getting once or twice daily updates on her (which mostly consist of “she’s wonderful…and CUTE!”), so I know she’s just fine and being looked after. But you know…it’s going on four whole days now and I miss my pony!

And that’s my Friday night….thanks for letting me whine! 😀

May 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm Leave a comment

sold pony

And I’m SO excited for her and her new family. She did great again Sunday, put up with three riders and THEN going for a drive, and then walked right onto the trailer (which WAS a concern :p) She’s going to a great family. The dad rode growing up and all through college, and is THRILLED to have a project again. And he’s got an 11 year old daughter who will show walk trot in 4H this summer. By the time his daughter is ready to canter he should have Bailea going pretty well. And the mom is non-horsey, but excited. It’s just a great match, and I’m so excited for them all! Makes it much easier 🙂

May 7, 2008 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

A few words on how horses haven't managed to kill me (yet...)
May 2008