2012 - here it is! Another year flies by. Another year of ramblings, musings, analytical riding, and trying to figure out these darn horses.

Updated: June 28, 2012
May, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Even a raging thunderstorm couldn't deter me! I scheduled a friend to come down to help me get back in the saddle on Tango. He wasn't very energetic today, he longed very quietly and ground-drove very slowly (but easily...my favorite kind!). I got up in the saddle, and my friend helped me get him moving again. After we walked a circle, I had her unsnap the longe line and away we went! Tango's steering is great - he drops his head and follows his nose (all that without ever having to tie him around, imagine that LOL!). Getting him to trot took a lot of leg and a lot of popping of the crop. He definitely feels stronger - at times he was getting annoyed with my flapping legs and would try to reach around and grab them, and I could feel him gather up his muscles after I popped him good with the crop - as if he thought about popping a buck but decided not to. I think he is too lazy to buck!

I only stayed on him for about 10 minutes. We did some trotting both directions, no more than once or twice around at a time. No need to stress him out! I feel pretty good about things. It looks like Tango remembered everything from February, and was still quiet and accepting. My plan is to only do about 2 days a week under saddle for a while. I will get on him again on Saturday. It's hard not to want to rush and do a bunch of training, but I am forcing myself to go extra slow this time!

Tomorrow is Corky's turn. I am anxious to see if I find any difference in her after yesterday's chiropractor appointment.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I rode Corky today - BIG improvement since her chiropractor appointment! She felt great underneath. She felt like she warmed up quicker and stayed looser. That was money well spent. Both horses will get the next two days off since I have performances in Dayton, but Saturday I will ride both. I will decide them whether to take Corky to a show on Sunday (and whether she feels OK enough to try a riding class).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I had tentatively planned to haul Corky to an open show today, but it got rained out. I decided to make it Tango's day! I did a little longeing (about 5 minutes), about 10 minutes of ground driving, and then hopped on. We walked a bit, did some circles and steering practice, and then I asked for the trot. he did NOT want to move (in fact, even his walk was ULTA-slow, like bad western pleasure slow!). I spanked the crop against my leg, no reaction...popped him on the hip a few times, he turned and tried to bite my leg. I popped him in the shoulder and he half rose as if he was thinking about rearing! Eventually I got him into a trot. I did several more short trotting sequences and each time it got a little easier to get him moving. About the 4th time, I was actually getting him into a trot without using the crop at all when he stumbled HARD and went to his knees. I flew up onto his neck, managed to keep one toe in the stirrup. Tango got to his feet, and I got lucky and was able to get myself back into the saddle. I reassured him, walked a bit, and then asked him to trot again. I like that he did go into it and wasn't afraid. I trotted one more time (managed to get him into it without a crop!) and then called it a day. Little baby steps of progress, that's how we work.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I had to make the VERY hard decision this weekend to move my horses from their current boarding place. I have boarded there for 14 years! It is owned by a very good friend of mine, and I hate to leave. Unfortunately, it is financially and mentally better for me at this time to move to another place. The up side is that at the new place I no longer will have to clean my stalls. I have been cleaning stalls since 1988...24 years of regular stall cleaning. maybe my bum shoulder will finally have a chance to heal! I am really nervous about changing barns, nervous about pulling Corky and Tango out of the only home they've ever known, and really nervous about putting them in the care of someone new. But...change is inevitable, and sometimes necessary. we do the big move tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

After an amazing couple days of washing out my tackboxes and cleaning and organizing all of my tack, I got everything loaded up (horses included) and headed to the new barn. Corky and Tango were a bit nervous at first. I turned them out in the indoor and let them investigate. Once they settled down, I put Tango in his stall and decided to ride Corky - it would be good practice to ride in a new, strange place (because after today it won't really be new and strange anymore!). She rode great!!!! She was fascinated by the mirrors on the wall. I loved it because in the mirrors I could see my position wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it to be...yay! Now for a few pictures from the barn and arena:

First we start off with a photo of me standing by my LAST wheelbarrow of manure I have to take out of my stalls...for the first time since 1988 I will be boarding in a full care facility and not have to clean my stalls. It's going to be weird!

A view of the stalls and aisleway

My stalls! I forgot what my tack box looks like. It's so neat and organized right now. My goal is to keep it that way. Check back in a month to see if I managed to do it LOL!

The sand indoor arena.

A view of my stalls (the two farthest to the left) from the arena.

Corky preparing to longe in the indoor.

I love this photo - Corky was mesmerized by her own reflection in the mirrors!

Corky's view from her stall. All that sunshine should brighten her mood!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I had the barn to myself tonight, it was very peaceful. I rode Corky, she is still a touch nervous in the new place but hasn't been spooky (thank goodness!). I then turned tango out with her while I spent some time organizing stuff. At one point I looked into the arena and both horses were standing stock-still staring into the mirror at themselves. It was the funniest thing (wish I got my phone out in time to take a picture!). Tango was fascinated by his own image. I think he was wondering who that homely-looking gelding was!

I put Corky in the cross ties and clipped her ears, muzzle, and legs. It was time to get her looking like the fine gal she is. Tomorrow will probably be Tango's turn. I was SO tempted to work Tango a bit today under saddle but I decided to let him settle in one more day before going back to our routine. Tomorrow I will probably saddle and ground drive him, and then see how his mental state is before hopping in the saddle.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another wonderful day...sunny and decently warm. I had a nice relaxing ride on Corky, we just tooled around and did some non-pressure railwork. It was one of those days where I felt like socializing more than riding, so that's what I did! I free-longed Corky and Tango together for a bit, and then decided Tango was relaxed enough to go ahead and put him through his paces. I saddled him and longed him (he was very stiff on the longe line for some reason, wonder why???). Tango looked a bit awkward with his tail up today. He has a touch of diarrhea from the new hay and that usually makes him a bit raw behind (yeah...TMI!). He has such a sensitive stomach. Every time he starts on new hay he gets the runs for a few days. I did some ground-driving, he was really good (even though he kept wanting to stop and look in the mirrors!). I decided to go for it and got in the saddle...first time in the saddle completely alone! He was even more fascinated with the mirrors when I was riding him, I could count on him trying to slam on his brakes every time we passed his reflection. However, today was a banner day for us because I was able to get him into the trot every time with almost no use of the crop! In fact, after the first trot he went right into it on my leg cue each time, and I was able to trot him for a slightly longer period of time. I think he felt more secure in the footing as it is not overly deep and it is very smooth. It was kind of fun seeing myself on him in the mirrors. When I am on his back, he feels like a skinny pony, but in the mirrors we look decently balanced together. It's also funny - my perception of his head and neck is a bit off. I am so used to Corky and her level topline that when I ride Tango it feels like his head is so upright it is in my lap. Looking in the mirrors showed that while his topline isn't level by any means, it just looks like a natural topline and not overly upright.

I was actually out at the barn until nearly 10pm - 3 hours! I can't help it, I was enjoying myself too much. Real life will be interfering the next few weeks and I will have a lot less time, so I will enjoy these relaxing, quiet evenings while I can.

On a side note...my new Weimaraner puppy named Pretzel will come home with me in 2 weeks! I can't wait!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day! I am kinda a mom, right? Mother to two horses and a cat, and soon-to-be puppy. I spent a nice afternoon at the barn (after a long morning planting my garden and digging up the soil). I rode Corky first. She looked pretty loose today right from the get-go. I put a pole on the ground to change things up a bit. I also tried a new bit that has a roller ball in the center. I didn't really notice much of a difference with the bit. I cantered Corky over the pole and for some reason that really revved her up. I ended up hand-galloping her for a bit just to let her blow some steam that she was building. You know how that goes...once her mind blows there is no getting it back. We finished the ride decently, but her canter was really forward and surge-y and I had to use a lot of leg to ask her to back down.

I free-longed Tango a little bit before saddling. It seems he is getting over his diarrhea. His tail looked more normal today. I got in the saddle without ground-driving, and it worked out fine. I never had to touch him with the crop at all to get him to trot. BIG improvement!!! He is very lazy and tends to do everything in slight slow-motion, but he is continuing forward motion when I ask. He just doesn't do anything very quickly. This can be a good thing if not taken to extreme.

I did some figure-8's at the trot with Tango. He was really unsure about changing direction at the trot. These were our first figure 8's...a Hallmark moment! We are progressing slowly but surely.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I had a brief hour between work and a meeting. It was a gorgeous day, so I decided to put Corky and Tango out in one of the pastures one at a time for 15 minutes. Corky, my hothouse flower/princess, hated being outside. Bugs...eeew! She grazed a little bit, but spent most of her time running around spooking at everything. Touching her nose to the electric fence set her off even more. Hopefully she will eventually relax and get used to the turnout. It's been a long time since she's been turned out in a big pasture.

Tango was a LOT more relaxed outside. He was far more interested in stuffing his face than running around, though he did run around a little bit (especially after touching the electric fence!). I think he will be fairly easy to ride outside as not a whole lot bothered him. Like your typical thin-skinned Thoroughbred, he also hates the bugs. I can see I will have to invest in quite a bit of fly and bug spray this year. It looks to be a buggy summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I successfully backed my trailer in to it's "official" parking space at the new barn, around a tree and back at an angle. I tend to stress over backing that darn thing, I worried about it all day and it took me about 5 minutes and ONE try and BAM!It was in it's spot. Oh well, I suppose if I didn't worry about it I would be careless and would have backed into the tree.

I spent some time turning each horse out in the pasture for about 20 minutes each and letting them graze. Tango was really quiet out there. I am thinking that being outside amongst the "wild" is not going to be an issue for him. He was more interested in grazing than running around. Corky was much more relaxed today. She did a bunch of trotting and running around, but instead of that panicked "crazed" look she had the other day, today it was more of a "I'm feeling good in the sunshine and want to run" kind of mood.

I rode Corky for about 15 minutes or so. I was running short on time since I had a ton of stuff to do before leaving tomorrow for the All-American Youth Show to braid for $$$ (gotta pay those darn bills, and earn money for Tango's stall mats!). Corky was nice and loose after playing in the pasture. She was a bit more forward under saddle, I think maybe her mind was still a bit jazzed from being outside. Who knows? Her mental state is a mystery to me sometimes. It was funny - while she was out in the pasture I walked around, and she would NOT let me out of sight or out of a 10 foot range. If I walked off, she followed. When I walked out of the gate she ran the fence by me. I think she sees me as her security. I guess this is a good thing? I sure would like her to be secure on her own and not depend on me or another horse, but she is what she is.

I free-longed Tango a little bit. He was pretty stiff. I can't wait to get the mats down in his stall, he really needs them. I was grooming him today and I realized that since we've moved to this new barn, he really hasn't p*ssed me off! He actually has been well-behaved, kept his mouth to himself, and tonight with all the stuff we did he was a gentleman the whole time! OK, is he growing up? Is he learning respect? Or is it just a fluke and once he is comfortable in his new surroundings will he go back to being the brat he has been? Time will tell...

More pictures from the pasture...because one can never have enough photos!


You have to click on this photo and see
the face he is making LOL!

A quick sprint in the field. Occasionally
Tango likes to take a quick run on a rare non-lazy day.

Taking a leisurely stroll in the field.

He doesn't even have to bend down to eat!


A feel-good run.

Checking out a mysterious noise in the woods.

Look at that trot!

A view of heaven...horse-style!
Corky spent most of the time trying to follow me everywhere I went in the pasture!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I spent the past 3 days braiding horses at the All American Youth Show in Columbus. I started braiding at 2:00 on Friday afternoon, and braiding straight through without a break (not even to go to the bathroom!) until 6:30 the next morning. It's a grueling way to earn money, but that money enabled me to buy some stall mats for Tango, and put some money aside for some shows this summer.

Today I spent the whole day at the barn. I installed my new (OK, new-to-me!) stall mats (who know cutting rubber was SO tough????). I had a phantastic ride on Corky. She was having an ears-up day, and was soft and willing. I had experimented with a 3-piece roller bit the last two rides, but today I changed back to my old French ring snaffle and she was much softer in her mouth. I don't see any real need to change bits, but I had found that one in my massive bit collection and gave it a try.

Tango has been SO mellow lately! When I was grooming Corky, he was loose in the arena and spent a lot of time with his head hanging over the fence watching us. I gave him every opportunity to mouth me, I was standing right next to his head with my back to him, but he never once tried to do anything. I am amazed at his sudden maturity.

He was very very lazy under saddle today. I've never known a horse to walk so slow!!! He was not so willing to trot today, and I had to use my crop a few times. I had to work hard one time to get him into the trot and he actually made a half-hearted attempt to buck! After that, he was a lot more forward. Forward motion is going to be priority #1 for me for the next few weeks.

I gave Corky a bath in the washrack. How great it is to have an indoor washrack with hot and cold water!!!! ***LOVE***! While Corky was ridden and got her bath, Tango spent time outside in the side paddock. It was just an overall good good good day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I actually got to ride Corky with someone today! Do you know how LONG it has been since we've ridden with someone else in the arena? It was fun (also fun watching my barn owner ride her dressage horse - very cool). Corky, of course, decided to be rather uncooperative. She wasn't heinously bad, just a bit belligerent and bullheaded. We have these days occasionally, but I have been spoiled lately because Corky has been just so good under saddle! Chin up, tomorrow is another day!

Tango's ride was pretty good, but I had to resort to the crop quite a bit. I think I need to take some drastic measures to get forward motion going - that being making him canter under saddle with me. Yes, Darla will be happy LOL! I will strap on my helmet and MAKE him canter and MOVE out, and teach him that when I ask for forward motion he is to give it to me. I am tired of clicking constantly, constantly urging him forward with my legs, ugh....although I must admit it is a nice change from the often-too-forward Corky.

Tango got a bath in the washrack today. I ended up just as wet as him, but it certainly was much easier in a washrack.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When I got to the barn today, a couple people were saddling up to go ride outside, so I decided to bring Corky out and join them. I pretty much anticipated that this ride would be a little hinky, and boy was I right! I longed her first, and she was forward but not terribly so. I got in the saddle and it went from a bit scattered, to bad, to near disaster. I tried doing the mindless circles, but she just kept revving herself up more and more. After a while I gave up and put her back on the longe line. When I went inside, I got back on her to ride but she was just as bad inside! There was NOTHING I could do to bring her mind back...nothing. I am at a loss as to what to do about this. As long as nothing blows her mind, we are golden. But I can't show in a perfect bubble...things happen!

Tango gets the day off today. I took him outside and turned him loose to graze. Now HE doesn't seem to mind the outdoors and the new place...he took it all in stride (and of course was more interested in feeding his face). I hope to start riding him outside once he gets reasonably broke.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today I took Corky outside and longed her. I was expecting a wild horse again, but as usual she fooled me! She looked like a million bucks - she moved out long, low, and sow-legged and looked gorgeous...didn't even look at anything outside. She jumped a bit when a bird flew out of the grass and startled her, but then right back to he frame and didn't let it bother her. Where the heck was this horse yesterday????

Today is a banner day for Tango. Yes folks, we actually cantered for the first time today! I didn't turn him out before hand, and did very little longeing. He was pretty fresh, but in a good way. did have to use the crop to get him into the trot, but once he got moving he kept a nice big steady trot. I decided "What the heck" and pushed him faster and faster until he cantered. Wow, it was totally cool. It had a lot of back and forth motion like a rocking chair. The best thing about the whole experience is that he stayed completely calm and rather nonchalant about the whole cantering thing. It was no biggie to him!!! HUGE biggie to me, though! I cantered him both directions, and then called it quits. Now we are really making progress, I can feel it!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I rode Corky inside today. She started off awesome, but then she always does. I notice that the longer I ride her, the more things fall apart and the more agitated she becomes. This is partly my fault, because all last year since I wasn't showing her I just 'skimmed' my rides - did 15-20 minutes and hopped off. Time to change that habit! As I rode longer, she started getting more forward and didn't want to listen to my legs when I asked her to slow down and rock back. The battle ensued, I kept myself very calm and just worked worked worked her through it. We ended on a fairly positive note. It wasn't great, but it was better and that is something, I guess.

Being the paranoid person I am, I free-longed tango for about 5 minutes just to make sure he looked sound after last night's ride. yep, all is good! he got turned out in the side paddock while I rode Corky. It makes me happy to see him have free time.

Tomorrow is a banner day for me, I am going to pick up my new Weimaraner puppy "Pretzel"!!! I am beyond excited, to say the least. He will have quite a summer - getting used to me, getting used to traveling in the truck, and of course getting used to the horses so he can start going to shows with me. Stay tuned...pictures coming soon, of course (as if I wouldn't take a MILLION photos LOL!).

Monday, May 28, 2012

What a hot weekend! It's been in the mid-90's for 3 days, with high humidity. This afternoon I decided to work Tango just a little bit, enough to keep his mind busy but nothing major in this heat. Well, Tango had other plans I was longeing him with side reins and suddenly he decided to start SLAMMING on the brakes at random times and refusing to move. What was supposed to be an easy workout turned into an epic battle. Finally I called a truce after we were both soaked with sweat, and I climbed in the saddle. Wouldn't you know that Tango was absolutely awesome under saddle? He tends to do that - randomly will pick something to fight about, we 'argue', and then he gives in and goes perfectly. I just wish we could have had this episode on a slightly cooler day!

It's time to get him into a regular workout - nothing too long or strenuous, but he needs to be "in school" every day. I thin that will benefit him the most. I'd like to aim for a walk-trot class maybe in August if all goes well, but we shall see. It might be fun to debut him at the same show I debuted Corky all those years ago.

Introducing...PRETZEL!. He has been accompanying me everywhere this weekend. He was terrified of the horses, but is slowly getting used to them. Go HERE for more pictures! This dog training thing is fun, but very different from horses. I think I might start a puppy training diary, because my experiences are pretty funny this past weekend as I muddle through trying to learn to train a puppy. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I did about 5 minutes of longeing with Tango before riding - I put the side reins on a tad looser and I only asked for a walk and trot. I could tell he was still pretty tired from yesterday's exertion. Today was another landmark day - Tango rode for the first time with another horse in the arena...in fact he rode with two other horses in the arena! He was a bit nervous (especially when one horse started acting up), but overall it was a good experience for him and we had a pretty good ride! I will give him a day or two off now, he needs a break.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I had a farrier appointment this morning. We decided it was time to go radical on Corky's white line disease and cut away as much as needed. My farrier cut away a ton of old, dead hoof wall. When he was done, he made a bondo paste and rebuilt the hoof wall on that side so there would be something covering the bare laminae and also something to run a nail through to hold the shoe on. Now my fingers are crossed that she comes out sound tomorrow. One never knows...and this resectioning was the deepest one yet. I pray we finally got it all out and her foot can start healing and growing again.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I had a fantastic ride on Tango today! Took off the draw reins and he was fairly solid at the walk and trot with his topline. I am amazed, flabbergasted, shocked! For the first time, I see Taylor in her son. It almost brings tears to my eyes. You have to see for yourself, I am really happy with how he is progressing:

June, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

I worked Tango again today - his trot was good, but slow. I had to use my crop a lot. I decided to go ahead and canter a bit today. I swear, at times I had to literally beat him into it. A couple times he broke after about 5-6 strides, but I got after him and eventually was able to get some decently smooth rounds at the canter. It just worries me that I have to push him SO hard to get him to move. Even the crop doesn't faze him much anymore. Should I got to some small English spurs? Is it too early to introduce spurs or is it a good idea to get it established now that I WANT forward motion immediately when I ask? I don't know what to do...am so confused! What do you think???

Corky is definitely off in the left hock - her usual bad hock. I noticed it earlier this week. I put a call in to my vet to schedule an appointment to get her hocks done, but he never called back. Frustrating!. I need to get that scheduled at the beginning of next week so I will have time to work her and get her ready for a show on the 16th. Yep, gonna show on the b16th, weather permitting, somewhere! First time in 2 years. Yes, should be scary LOL!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tango was NOT wanting to canter today! He kept taking the wrong lead going to the left. It was pretty frustrating, and we had to work long and hard before I finally got him into the canter to the left correctly a couple times. On the plus side, I got one really nice canter transition going to the right - from the trot of course, but within one stride after I asked. Cool!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today's ride was much better! I turned Tango out in the pasture in the morning for a little while, then came back in the evening to ride. I got a couple super nice canter transitions from the trot going to the right. He did take the wrong lead a few times to the left, but he was easier to correct today. Little by little he is improving. I love this part of training, you actually see the results of your training every single day.

I have an appointment for Corky on Thursday to have her hocks checked. It's time, and this time I am not going to force her to keep working when I know she is hurting. I have stayed off her for the past week, hopefully this will keep her in a positive frame of mind about riding.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I gave Tango a day off today. I turned him out in the pasture while Pretzel and I went for a walk. Tango was fine until we got out of eyesight, then he whinnied and ran around. I don't think he likes being alone.

I have been wondering what his canter looks like under saddle. It feels unbelievably smooth, and usually when it feels that good they aren't moving the greatest underneath. I am very curious. I might set up my video camera on my fencepost tripod and see if I can get a glimpse of what we look like.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tango got a good workout today, as did I since he was in super-lazy mode again. I set up my video camera in the corner and shot video of my whole ride. I put a few clips of our canter in the video below. He looks better than I thought. He is weak, but I think he is improving and it doesn't look like he is struggling too much. I am just frustrated at trying to get him to move. It's not just getting him into the canter - it's getting him to WALK forward, to trot, to move period. I think it might be time to try some spurs, he is rather dead to my legs and the crop isn't making much of a difference to him. Yes, I love having a lazy horse but geeze...this is a bit much!

He will have the next 4 days off as I am off to a family wedding in Cleveland for a few days. We just have to get through Corky's hock appointment tomorrow...hopefully that won't break the bank!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Corky got her hocks done last Thursday (June 7), Hylaronic acid (it was fairly cheap, I hope it lasts). She was on stall rest all weekend. Tonight I got her out and free-longed her a little bit...BIG improvement! It's nice to see her moving without pain. Say what you want about hock injections, but I'd rather spend the money regularly than see Corky hurting and not wanting to work.

I got on Tango without longeing...made no difference. I am thinking (fingers crossed) that he might be a horse that requires zero longeing before riding. Wouldn't that be great! Since he will probably never be a showmanship horse, he might be the one horse that allows me to sleep in at the shows.

Tango actually took the wrong lead going the other direction today, so that tells me it's more a training issue than weakness. Other than that, the ride was pretty good. I did have to really use the crop hard a few times, and this was just getting him to move to a walk from a stop! OK, my next ride on him will have one of two things happen - either we will ride in spurs for the first time, or we will ride outside for the first time (weather and footing permitting). I think both options will put a little fire in him!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I rode Corky in the afternoon indoors with a few other people. I know she hasn't been ridden in several weeks, and I planned on trying to take it easy since she just had her hocks done last week, but geeze...it was horrible. She was very upright and pushy/surgey...just wanted to run through the bit and not listen whatsoever. It was a frustrating ride and I started second-guessing my plans to head to a show this weekend. I realize she hasn't been out at a show in 2 years, and I know it will be a schooling experience, but some times I just don't feel like it is worth the hassle anymore! Of course, I got off and groomed her and ended up clipping her for this weekend. we WILL go somewhere this weekend...just to school if needed. In fact, to take the pressure off, we will go and do some showmanship and then ride around, might not even enter a riding class but it is time to get her back into a show frame of mind.

I decided to be bold and daring, and I took Tango outside to ride! I longed him first, we did maybe 4 circles and I could tell he was NO different outside in that big field than he was in the indoor. I hopped on...sure enough he was every bit as lazy! I had to send someone back to the barn to grab my crop because he just wasn't moving. He was a little bug-eyed at the white barrel laying on the edge of the riding area, but we went past it successfully and he hardly looked twice at it. I think I will ride him again in 2 days...outside...with spurs. I was feeling pretty pumped. He even did a very very very pretty canter transition from the trot going to the right (of course he broke back down into the trot after maybe 3 strides and then it took half the arena to get him cantering again LOL!).

Pretty sad when your 2yo is more broke and trustworthy than your 8yo experienced campaigner!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I rode Corky in the morning. Yep, she was wild, surge-y, spooky, you name it. VERY discouraging. I rode her through it, but it wasn't pretty and it wasn't fun. She is moving like a million bucks, why can't her mind cooperate?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I rode Corky later in the afternoon today. She was spooking at the horses outside. Where was that brake 3yo that I marveled at because she was so confident and spook-free? I am trying to pinpoint when the spookiness started, but it seems gradual over the years. I did manage to bring her back down after a couple scoot-and-runs. but it was a tiring ride. I am thinking we definitely need to ease into this show thing gradually, only do the classes this weekend that she can stay confident in. Yes, it's a big step back, but I can forgive this since she hasn't been anywhere in 2 years.

I took Tango outside and rode him...with spurs! They worked great. He wasn't really bothered by them, but a few solid taps with them helped establish some good forward motion. In contrast to Corky, Tango was an absolute blast to ride! He can't do a straight line to save his life (kind of like pushing a spaghetti noodle across the table) but he was very willing and laid back about everything outside. I need to spend as much time outside as possibly. The arena is nice and really loooooong, and this is important. After a year of longe line (circles) and several years of riding and being turned out in small indoors (more circles), it seems Tango has trouble holding himself up on a straight line. Riding outdoors means lots of long straightways, perfect for getting him more balanced and better on his legs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Corky rode a little better tonight - started off good but then as usual got more and more forward and pushy and was tough to ride. Oh well, it is what it is! It was wonderful washing her in the indoor wash rack at this barn, what a treat! I braided her up, and prepared everything to go show tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what happens!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We got to the show today plenty early. I longed her for a long time, let her just long trot a lot, do some cantering, and walking in between. By the end she was very relaxed. This was good for not having gone to a show in 2 years!. First class was showmanship - I had two classes. The first one was OK - I cannot fault Corky because she was spot on perfect. I cut my circle a bit too tight and so our line was not the greatest. We ended up 3rd out of 5. The second class I did a lot better on my circle, but her set up was slightly off in front. We got 2nd out of 5.

As usual, I plan my show day and things go awry. The show management decided to cut their scheduled break down to 10 minutes. That meant NO warm-up for me since I had showmanship right before the break, and had to hurry and change clothes and then saddle Corky. I debated the entire time as to whether I would do the stress-free option of just doing a walk-trot class, or whether I would take the chance and see how she did in the regular HUS class. You know me....I never want to take the easy route even when it probably is the best option for everyone! So, we did the open HUS. She started off fantastic, first direction trot was awesome. The canter started off great, but then we ended up in a spot that we were 3-wide with two horses next to us cantering on the rail and slightly off. For some reason, this really bothers Corky. Cantering and having to pass other horses that are cantering gets her incredibly nervous. So thinks started going downhill from there. When we reversed, our second direction trot was OK but she was very tense and started arching her neck a bit. 2nd canter was tight and got more and more wound up as we went. We had a few semi-ugly moments, but nothing out of control, which was good! We ended up 3rd out of 7, not too bad, but I wasn't thrilled with the ride.

yes, I reminded myself a lot that it was her first time out on 2 years, and this was to be expected. Still, I had hoped that this nice long vacation she had was the miracle cure for her tenseness in the ring. I will give her credit - near the show arena they were having a tractor pull at the grandstand and the engine noise was massive, and she wasn't the least bit bothered by it.

So, what to do now? Is it worth pursuing, or not? I really don't know. I enjoy showing her, but it sure gets frustrating. I will have to think on what I plan to do with her in the future.

I think next weekend I will haul Tango to a show and just ride around. it's time to get him traffic-broke! I hope to haul to Darla's for a lesson on him on Thursday. I am very interested to hear her opinion of him.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I waited to ride until evening when the heat lessened. I opened the arena doors and turned Corky out in the indoor. the back doors opened up into a little pasture area. She wasn't very interested in actually going outside. She mainly stood in the indoor and reached her head outside to eat the grass!

I took Tango outside to ride. I did 2 longe circles each direction and that was it! I wanted to ride him fresh. I forgot my crop back at the barn, but I had my spurs on. Tonight tango was actually a little edgy! the wind started blowing, and the electric tape fence was wobbling in the breeze and that actually spooked him a couple times - very minor spooks and he rode right through them. his bit of edginess was a good thing - I did not need the crop at all! He trotted off of my legs, and actually had a nice forward-moving trot. I got two GREAT canter transitions - one each direction - from the trot. I just used a little bit of spur and he lifted right up into it, and on the correct lead! I was soaring after this ride, what a great feeling. The next obstacle we need to conquer is riding in traffic. Hopefully we get a little of this done at Darla's, but the real test will come on Sunday during the break at the show.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I rode indoors tonight to get a break from the heat and the sun. It was still fairly hot - in the 90's at 7pm. Tango rode great. I don't know what else to say - he is working off of my spur better, his canter transitions are improving bit by bit. there is something so incredibly satisfying when you see little bits of progress every single day. Of course the big question will be what Darla thinks of him on Thursday! I will give him the day off tomorrow so he has more energy when I haul him to her place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I had hoped today would cool down, but it was still in the mid-90's. I left for Darla's in the morning and avoided most of the heat on the trip over. I unloaded Tango, saddled him up, and took him outside where a few people were riding. We walked out there like he lived there his whole life. I tried longeing him, did about 5 circles and realized he was exactly the same as he is at home - no longeing required! I hopped on, and he rode like a champ. The best part about the whole day was that Darla really likes him. She even got on him so I could see what he looked like in the big arena. he has never had anyone else on his back other than me, but he responded to her and did everything she asked...and looked fantastic! He has such a slow-legged big trot, and it really shines in that big arena. Even his canter was pretty good today. he is getting stronger and more sure of himself. I am excited that Darla really thinks he is good. She tends to be brutally honest, so I really respect her opinion. I left her place flying high on a cloud....felt SO awesome about things until I got about a mile from our barn and saw I had an incredibly flat tire on the trailer. *Big sigh*. I limped the rig back to the barn and called US Rider where they saved me once again by sending someone out to change my tire. I think these tires are done for. they are 12 years old (minus the new one I got 2 years ago). I hate to do it...hate to bankrupt myself, but I will go next week and get all 4 new tires on the trailer. I will not risk it again. Imagine if I had gotten stranded miles from home in that heat? No more chances...safety is more important!

So...I should be a bit despondent that I have to spend that money for tires. In all honesty I am in a fantastic mood. Tango was awesome (better than expected!) and the tire went totally flat only a mile from home. Things are definitely looking up!

Next on the agenda - hauling Tango to an open show on Sunday to ride around in traffic. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

After hauling Tango to Darla's I gave him a couple days off with just turnout. Today I hauled him to a local open show for experience. As usual, he hauled like a champ, hung out eating hay in the trailer all morning until lunch break. I saddled him up, and he was so quiet standing there waiting for the arena to be cleared that I decided to be brave (foolish?) and get on him without longeing. The break started off with minimal traffic, but increased steadily until there was a decent crowd of horses being ridden every direction. Tango was a rock star! I swear, he rode exactly the same as he does at home - did not notice the traffic passing him in every direction! I was amazed, thrilled, excited, all sorts of emotions. As horse people, you all know how things can suddenly go south the first time you haul your youngster to a show to ride, because no matter how well you train at home the show experience is a whole different ballgame. Having a horse that cruised around without a care his first time being ridden at a show was a purely joyous experience, let me tell you!

I even tried a little cantering, he was hard to keep going as usual. I can tell the one thing we need to work on is our steering...especially maintaining straight lines. Riding him straight down the rail was like pushing a wet noodle across the table. That will come with time and more riding in long arenas.

OK, so crazy enough, I think we are ready to attempt to actually show a walk-trot class! He's not the steadiest, but it's time for some show ring experience. I am aiming for a local show on July 4th. Next on the agenda, another day off, and then time to try him out with a fake tail (or long tail pieces - thank goodness I still have that 7-piece full length tail from Corky's 3yo year!) and my good English saddle. Oh yes, and time to try a metal bit also, don't really want to show in a Happy Mouth (though I can if necessary). I will keep him in the same plain French ring snaffle, as gentle a bit as I can find. This will be fun!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I got out Corky's old 7-piece tail to try on Tango. It was still dirty...from Congress 2007. the last time I used it was the Junior HUS class at Congress when Corky and I placed 10th...a total dream day! I had a reminiscent moment, kind of reluctant to comb out all that lucky Congress dirt! Anyways, I tried many different ways, but there is just no good way to add the tail pieces evenly and not show. Tango has such short, thin hair on his tailbone! Here are the results:

At first, he was a little bothered when he felt the long pieces brush his ankles (yes, the tail is WAY too long for him, it was made for a 17 hand 3yo horse!). I put him on the longe line first to make sure he was OK with them hitting his back legs. Of course he was! I shouldn't have doubted him...but I take no chances with 2yos LOL! I put a french ring snaffle (a metal one) on Taylor's old bridle, and rode him in that. He rode great...as usual. Took the wrong lead a few times cantering to the left, and was REALLY sticky about picking up the canter. I gave him no excuses today...it was high 70's with low humidity! The rest of this week and next are going to be in the HIGH 90's, so I am sure his energy level will deplete even more.

OK, so I really am a bit of a sentimental sap (as if you haven't already figured that out). It kind of made me choked up to put Taylor's old bridle on him. Taylor's bridle has been sitting in the bridle bag in my trailer since our last show together in 2007. I kept it, thinking that some day I would un-retire her and show her again, or maybe let some dedicated youngster take her in a youth HUS class or two. It's only fitting that it go to her son, but fitting is the optimal word - it really doesn't fit him! I laugh at his big head, but the bridle is on the tightest hole at every single juncture and it is still a little big at the throat, noseband, and cheek. I guess his jughead isn't as big as I thought...just big for his body size!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I waited until later in the evening to ride to escape the heat. I rode Tango first. This was a good experiment, because I saddled him up just as all of the other horses were getting fed. He was NOt happy about this! I got on Sioux longing, and immediately I could tell that I had a different horse under me. He was much more forward, actually walked at a normal pace instead of a snail's crawl. I did a bunch of bending, circles and changes of direction at the trot, and he did pretty good. His canter was VERY forward! He took the wrong lead to the left once, and I noticed to the right when he would go to take off in the canter he would leap in the air with his front end to start the gait. He does this normally, but today he was putting some serious air under his front legs on take off. Weird...but I won't worry about that just yet. My main focus is getting him to take the canter when asked. All in all it was a good ride and a good experiment to see how he rides when things aren't necessarily going his way. Good to know he will still ride decently for me, even when his dinner is calling for him!

Corky was next. I put her on the Los line for a few minutes to loosen her up. I realized that I haven't ridden her since our show a week and a half ago...bad me! As usual, she started off good, canters both ways were really good, but the more I worked her the worse she got. Today I just sat through it and put her through a lot of work - serpentines, bending circles, simple lead changes, pivots, all sorts of things. She got a good workout, was not very happy about it, but at least it got done. I realize the attraction riding Tango has been mainly e sense of accomplishment. I rode Corky for twice as long and had ZERO sense of accomplishment when I was done. Yes, she got exercised, but nothing was changed or accomplished and I feel there really wasn't an inch of improvement over the last hundred rides. THAT is my biggest frustration. All this work and time...and we are just treading water. Corky just doesn't want to work any more. I am not sure how to change this, or if it can ever be changed. She is the sweetest horse on the ground and to handle, but when you start asking for some real effort, she gets resentful. Maybe that is just her...she is what she is. It's disheartening, because she is such a phenomenal mover and a beautiful horse!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I wonder how many other people are as nuts as I am...I rode in the dead of the afternoon with the temps being around 96 degrees with crazy high humidity. I turned Corky and Tango out in the indoor for a bit and free-longed them. Due to the excessive heat the past few days, they haven't been out much, so they were wound p and ran a lot harder than I had intended. Of course Tango decided to roll right afterwards, so he was a dirty, sweaty mess. I cleaned him up enough to ride, saddled up, and we rode.

I planned on keeping out session short and sweet, which I did - 15 minutes and we were done. Of course he was sluggish with the heat, but we got moving, and although it took a LOT to get him into the canter, he canted great. For the first time, I had enough control Over his front end to lift his shoulders up in the corners. This, of course, is something that really needs t get done with him to help him find his correct balance. Today was the first day I felt I could lift that inside in and have him respond rather than just breaking into the trot. We cantered once each direction and quit...we were both covere in sweat!

Last night was supposed to be Pretzel's very first puppy match at the Lima Kennel Club dog show. I spent all morning at the show watching with a friend (and asking a zillion questions!). I felt we were ready to make the attempt...I went home and picked up Pretzel and my clothes and headed back to the show grounds just as a hellacious storm hit. This storm had straight line winds of over 70mph. It even blew the ports-jons over! The worst thing was it toppled a massive tree onto my friend's camper. Needless to say I didn't get to show Pretzel like I had intended. Bummer. Our debut of the blind leading the blind will have to be postponed!

We are still aiming for our first walk-trot class at a show on Wednesday. I sure hope the heat let's up by then!