Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I've been a bad, bad person; I've neglected my blog.  Anyhow, I've got some big and sad news that I'm ALMOST finished writing about, and will post tomorrow... I think.
There's also some good news: I have the distinct pleasure of getting to take part in a clinic with Belinda Trussell!  For those of you who don't know who that is, click the link.  I'd write out an explination, but why bother when somebody else has already done it for me?
Also, my pony's on the interweb!  He's made it onto the front cover of his barn's website.  God I miss him.
To all those who happen to read this before it's November: ejoy your Halloween, don't poison any children, and go ahead and eat that chocolate... nobody has to know ;)
Well that's different...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lunge Work and Lessons

For the first time in forever, I've had a pretty horse-free week.  That said, this week I have been to three tack shops, ridden two horses twice each, and spent countless hours following the Pan Am's (with limited success).   Why does it feel like I've been slacking off?

 Actually, I know exactly why it feels like I've been slacking off.  I haven't been on a certain 16.2hh TB x Hanoverian mare since Tuesday.  On Monday, I had a dressage lesson during which my coach expressed her opinion that Cadence's unwillingness to give properly (to the right rein) in the canter could be more easily cured on the lunge line.  Fine by me.  Anyhow, the plan was for my coach to lunge the mare on Thursday and Saturday, so Cadence got Wednesday and Friday off in preparation for her 'training time' with the coach.

So Launa's been my only riding since Tues, & I've actually had quite a bit of fun with my 17 year old baby mare.  On Monday I jumped her for the second time, and she was a little pro!  She trots nicely up to the little x-rail, jumps, and trots calmly away.  What a cutie!  I've got to get some videos.  Yesterday we did some w/t dressage tests, backed up in a STRAIGHT line, and perfected her turn on the haunches.  Additionally, we did some stretchy stuff to get that old body to bend!  We also practiced dropping and picking up my stirrups at the trot, since last week Launa's owner took a tumble when she lost a stirrup and Launa spooked.  The whole dropping them thing wasn't such a big deal.  Oddly enough, it was picking the stirrups back up that bugged her.  Either way, we just worked on 'safety desensatization' things, and halting from the trot sans reins.  Nothing too challenging, but lots of fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Videos, Conclusions, and Re-Vamping

I'm sorry my blogging has been so sporadic as of late.  I've been ill (spent yesterday evening in the hospital-_-), and as a result I've fallen behind in my school work.  This (in addition to the 50 million extracurricular things I do [riding 7x/week being largely, but not completely, to blame]) has left me stressed, yet not in a position to do anything about it.   Either way, none of that's really important.  The purpose of this blurb was to apologize for not havign this up yesterday, and for being so lackluster in my blogging.

Okay, first things first.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have fall colours!  On the blog, that is.  I redecorated. (just in case this change from blue-grey to red & oranges escaped anyone's notice.)

Next, a compilation of video clips from an old cross country school:

And lastly, my conclusions from earlier musings

Musings: Part 1
When I first began riding, the phrase "Horses are herd animals...." popped up more times than I could count.  "Horses are herd animals.  Therefore, they will be more inclined to simply follow each other around the ring.  It is your job as a rider to make the horse do what YOU want, and go where YOU ask them to."  or "Horses are herd animals.  See how the horses that go out together are less likely to turn away if they're following a herd-mate?"  It was equine psychology, but as I later discovered, we weren't really 'using' it.  It was just acknowledged; a useful explanation as to why certain things happen.  However, as my riding advanced along with my knowledge of all things horse-related, things began to change. Instead of working against the horse's nature, so to speak, I began doing specific things because of the horse's psychology and physiology as well.  "A horse naturally carries 2/3 of their weight on their front end.  It is the job of the rider to balance the horse over their back."  or "Horses are like people, they're right and left handed.  They aren't born straight, they're trained straight."
 balanced back 
(Yeah yeah, I cheated.  The horse is still balanced back though)
balanced on their front end
Originally, I thought of this simply as a  continuation of the incorporation of equine behaviour into my interactions with horses.  It was only when I was prompted to (thanks to my mare's tendency to become pissy when in heat) take a closer look at my interactions with horses, and the implementation of horse psychology, that I realized this key difference.  While everyone uses psychology, HOW it is used differs greatly.  Many people just use it as an explanation; far fewer actually implement it as a training aid.  My current question is how do you use a horse's psychology to better communicate with your equine partners?

There's more, it's coming.  While I was thinking, I essentially 'took notes' to keep track of my ideas.  These 'notes' need to be put into paragraph form.  Hopefully this'll be done in a (somewhat) timely fashion.  If anyone knows how to add an extra hour (or three) into the day PLEASE TELL ME!
I'll try to post my "Musings" and their conclusions once a week.  Part 2 is already almost finished.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to read this blog.  I'm far from the best writer (actually, I sit far too close to the bottom of quality writing for my own personal comfort, but changing that requires valuable time I do not have) and a rather infrequent and sporadic poster, but I enjoy keeping this training record up.  Okay, now onto the post:

PMS, also known as Pissy Mare Syndrome.  Best acronym ever, if you ask me.  Anyhow, I know I mentioned in passing that Cadence and I had had a rather interesting ride the other day.  When I got to the barn, she was very calm and happy; a bit of a rarity in her case!  (The calm, that is) So I tacked up, dragged out some jumps, and hopped on.  Under saddle however, she was grabby, pushy, and grumpy.  All she wanted to do was run, so I hopped off, removed the tack, and let her blast around for a minute.  Once she was content again, I hopped back on.  I think this is where I made the mistake.  I had the same horse as before, but I pushed through it, and continued on with my plan.  Bad decision.  She just plowed at all the jumps, grabbing about two strides out and getting in deep as a result.  Gahh!  I though we'd quit that.  Since Trying to tug my reins back wasn't working, I brougnt her back to trot a few strides out from the jump, and we worked on that for a while.

Next ride, I hopped on her bareback and we went through our normal dressage school routine.  We had the same issues, but I was (for the most part) able to correct them more effectively.  I believe I have a lesson tonight, so hopefully Cadence won't be in heat anymore.  Actually, I wouldn't mind if she were still in heat.  I really want to show my coach the issues she gets, and work out the most effective way to correct them.

I don't know if any of you read K's blog, but if you do then you'll know about her "methods" and how she's helped her mare Lilo overcome some of her issues, and truly grow into herself.  She's inspired me to take a closer look at some of the things I do (and more importantly, HOW I do them) and recently I've been doing a little re-evaluation.  The process of learning is always a hard one.  I just hope I make the right choices here...

Oh, and I have a few videos that'll be ready soon.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Cadence and I have been up to:

1) We discovered that Cadence has not quite come straight yet.  She used to pop her head up for a minute in her upwards and downwards transitions; something that I'd ignored since those transitions had been so difficult anyway, but when I requested she stay round all hell broke loose.   From there some further digging around was done and we (my coach and I) noticed that there were still some unresolved issues there that had just been neatly covered up.  Glad we unearthed them, but thus far the road to correcting them's been... challenging shall we say.

2) Kaitlin, Cadence's old owner, rode her for me while I was away at a cousin's wedding.  She even got to take her XC, where Cadence was a superstar with everything, but the ditch.

3) Cadence has been ground tying superbly!  She much prefers it to cross ties, so while she's still not quite at ground tying perfection, I'm not complaining.

4) We had an... interesting... ride that I'll be sure to post about when I have time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Loving Memory: Gogo Fatale

For anybody who reads this blog and doesn't happen to read Andrea's, Andrea has made the tough decision to put down her amazing little mare Gogo.  Please go give her your love, and show her we care.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hop Skip & a Jump

Cadence did her first bounce on Saturday.  She was stellar, and didn't just hop over the whole line like I feared she might.  Good mare!  She still likes to grab a bit about 3 strides out from the jump.  Its fine so long as she gets a good distance, but far too often she just gets in deep or has to go long.  She's getting better though.  I leave tomorrow at 7 to go out west for my cousins wedding (we were supposed to leave at 7:30pm tonight, but a bird flew into the plane and broke it so the plane's grounded for the next 4 days) so Cadence's old owner/breeder (KAitlin) is going to ride her and hopefully take her out xc this weekend.  I'm so excited for the both of 'em.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What I've Been Up To:

I apologize for being an awful blogger.  I know, I suck. Its been one day shy of two weeks, so here's whats transpired... or at the very least, the highlights of it:
XC school:
Took the long way there (byaccident) and started out late, so we started with a slightly larger jump:
But then we relaxed a little:
We succesfully conquered both banks and water like old pros!  Her two biggest fears.  At the end, we strung together a course, and popped over that sans incident, water, banks, and all!  Go Mare!

In other news, Launa jumped (well, hopped) for the first time the other day.  She treated it like an old pro; I was very impressed.  It was caught on camera, so I hope to get the video up soon.  After my lesson on Sat, I hopped on my coach's greenie, Z, and rode her too.  She's a totally different horse from the one I rode last winter.  She's pretty solid in her first level work, and her canter extensions are gorgeous.  Like all four feet off the ground, and about a foot in the air gorgeous.  My legs hurt after though :)

Cadence has a dressage lesson tonight, so I'll try to be good and post about it tomorrow.