Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Weekend in Review: Sunday

In continuing with All The Horse Things on Saturday, it was arranged with R/Nixie and N/AJ to haul out to one of the two barns in the next town to ride in their indoor. With R being back in town and having access to a 3-horse trailer (mine is a 2 horse and it is being lended out at the moment), it was pretty neat to be able to load up as a group and take off to ride!

I have greatly missed having riding friends, and I feel like it is going to be a pretty awesome year with the company of these two wonderful gals!

As far as the trip went, it was pretty uneventful. We packed everyone up and headed out around 11:15am, and since N was in the next town anyways for work, we just hauled her horse for her and she met us out at the barn in her own vehicle.

Spoiler alert as to how she did!
I normally would post in chronological order but I have
no media from that day other than from when I was riding!
Annie loaded up really well and was super quiet in the trailer as I tied her up and moved her over to close the divider. It is obvious that she has been hauled exclusively in an angle haul, so my straight haul is going to be a bit of a change for her (which was evidenced when I hauled her home earlier this month). When my trailer gets back from being borrowed, I'll be practicing loading her into it so she gets accustomed to the different set ups. Still, it is promising to see she is an eager loader in the angle hauls.

When we arrived, the unloading took some cajoling. She seemed more than happy to just stand in the trailer looking out; wherein the group of us started to make fun of her. Finally, she hunkered down out of the trailer and looked around at the new barn, horses, and settings with a bright expression and followed me to the sliding doors without so much as a bat of her eye.

The barn layout is kind of neat. The front of the barn has a heated lounge and the actual barn itself features an indoor arena in the middle, with stalls along each long-side. Since the arena has kick-boards, the opposite side of the kick-boards has personal cubbies which correspond to the stalls. You will see exactly what I mean when you watch the videos.

Onto Annie.

Things she did well upon arrival (because point form is the bomb dot com):

      • Tied quietly in the aisleway a few posts away from the other two horses - no calling out, pawing, pacing, etc. I did notice she enjoys playing with her leadrope tho (I looped it one extra loop just in case she knows how to untie herself cause that wouldn't be good).
      • Watched the horses being ridden in the arena without spooking or otherwise.
      • Tacked up without fuss aside from a mild argument when I went to put her bridle on. She flipped her head up at me, but I just kept pressure on and she chomped onto the bit like, "Goddamn, I have to be good when we are away from home too? Fiiiine."
      • Was quietly confused by the bell-boots, but allowed them and didn't walk funny after I put them on. lol.

Heading to the arena, I walked once around in both directions before wandering to the mounting block to mount up. I felt kind of funny tho, because both friends opted to lunge their horses (for reference, AJ is 17 and Nixie is 14). And here I am with my baby horse and just givin' 'er guns and hopping on like shes some schooled beast.

Fortune favors the bold, I guess?

Things she did well upon mounting:

      • Initially, she did scoot away from the mounting block, but I corrected her, stood her up, and she stood quietly for my second attempt to mount. All she does is literally swing her hips away like, "LOL I know you aren't Stretch Armstrong so I'mma be out of your reach, Shrimp Person." If I had longer legs, I would just still mount, but I'm pretty sure I'd end up doing the splits and ripping my breeches wide open.
      • Walked off quietly with no jogging!
      • Toured the arena quietly assessing everything; no spooks, bolts, etc.
      • Walked past AJ who was being lunged at the opposite end of the arena at a faster gait than she was going.
      • Quietly maneuvered around the arena as a lame horse was brought into the arena to also be lunged quickly. So we literally had one horse lunging at the north end, and one being lunged at the south end and Annie and I were just cruising around the outside walls.
      • Stopping when asked and moving off of leg.
      • Responds really well to the whip (ie no bucking).
      • Went around walk, trot, canter with other horses going different directions and different gaits!
      • Stood in the middle of the arena while the other horses were worked on the rail and on 20m circles.
      • Fell asleep after I dismounted and was talking to friends.

Things we need to improve:

      • She likes to duck behind the bit on me, esp during our halt transitions. Need to remember to: give her longer reins so she can't curl up behind my hand and push her forward past the contact, use legs to halt and do not touch the reins.
      •  As we progressed into the ride, she started to get saturated and tired. Baby horse brain's are just tiny and baby horse also lacks muscles and fitness. I had to end up borrowing a whip to tap her haunches with because I was literally cowboy kicking her towards the end to trot for me.  *This is all normal stuff, and as her fitness and brain capacity gets larger, I'll be able to do more but it is important to note regardless.
      • Attitude when requested to canter. She actually tried to buck when I asked her to canter for like the fourth try, and after I got after her a bit she obliged and cantered fine. But it is important to not waste her energy trotting around aimlessly when I want to work on canter stuff. She is also not very balanced so the cantering stuff is hard to do right now anyways - BUT, she needs to canter when I say so (hence the reason why I bought a dressage whip).

A lot of things we need to improve on are based off of the fact she is super green. She doesn't really know the cue for canter yet - she will trooooooot mach 10 and then canter, but we need to refine that and polish it up.

Interesting to note, and I think some other horse people will be like *omg lightbulb moment*: It is still a learning curve for me to understand that although, out of the three horses, she was the driest in terms of sweat... she was by far the most exhausted.

She has such an uphill stride compared to
my comfy western LazyBoy
couch of a pony Suzie!
There were so many questions I asked her on Sunday, and for having only 30 days of riding under her belt in ONE arena at ONE barn, I feel like she did spectacular. Yah, we had a mild bucking fit but it was corrected and we moved on.

It will still be a learning curve for me, esp because I have never brought along a true green horse before (30 days or less). R gave me lots of good advice tho and a few points she brought up that I found interesting were:

      • When she is sticky in her turning, lift your rein up and OVER as opposed to over and back towards your hip. I was guilty of this on Sunday, as I would lead her over with the rein but be pulling back at the same time which just upset her balance.
      • Invest in an whip and use it for those baby tantrums. You don't want to get them dead to your leg and using a slight tap on the hind-quarters will help you. (I grabbed a whip off of the cupboards during my ride from the resident trainer and used it to get one of our canter transitions which helped IMMENSLY. I didn't have to be a brute about it, but it got my point across vs kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick... ok take a break because holy shit I'm tired. I didn't get to use the whip much tho, because I picked it up near the end of our ride and was admittedly timid to use it lest Annie's response be to rear and crush my brains in.
      • Every time you are riding her, you are training her, so don't feel like you were too soft or too hard on her. Build upon the foundation you have laid down first before you expect her to be a solid citizen. (I was asking her thoughts because I felt like I didn't accomplish much in the ring since we legit were just riding circles and squares, lol).
      • Baby horse brains are small and it doesn't take much to fill them - it is OK to end the session when they have had their fill, even if the session didn't last the ___ minutes you wanted it to.

I was pretty damn happy with her - the plan is to haul out every second weekend to get things rolling and once the ice and snow melt more in the back paddock, I'll be adding lunging to our routine to build up some more strength in her and solidify that canter. I feel like taking away the human equation will help her build up her stamina too, since she lacks a lot of balance (spoiler alert: I do too). We had attempted to do some lunging last week but there is a sheet of ice under the snow which made it impossible for Annie to gain any traction, so for now that's a no go area.

As Winter melts away, we will be getting out and doing more. I feel like she has had a pretty good taste about her new life and has taken it all in stride - even just working around her in the paddock while I scoop poop or wrestling with the frozen hose or even tossing blankets on her while the wind blows is a learning curve for her. Everything is new to her and she is still learning the routine, and to not be surprised when we verge far away from the routine.

Exhibit A: not a normal routine.
I'm a huge advocate of "do weird shit" when it comes to horses (note: I didn't say unsafe or stupid shit). Just weird shit. Have them wear a baseball cap while you walk, trot, and canter around the arena. Teach them to back through the arena gates vs walking forwards. Pick their left feet up while you are on their right side and pick them out (that one confused the HELL out of Suzie, haha). Take them schooling one day and trail riding the next. Make them roll a giant ball around.

The possibilities are endless, and I am so certain that all the weird shit is what has made Spud such a steady eddy. Those who remember Spud from the beginning will remember how difficult he was in terms of his own self-esteem - he was such an unsure pony when I bought him that even scraping manure anywhere near him would send him galloping away... and now I can scrape manure literally out from under his hooves.

So sorry Annie, you've gone from a city girl to a country bumpkin.

Let's just remember the weird shit Suzie is used to.
Thankfully I have a mini that serves my driving
needs, so this isn't going to be repeated anytime soon...
at least not with a wagon. lmao.


  1. Sounds like Annie is doing great, you guys look awesome in the videos. I am part of the do weird shit with your horses camp too!

  2. She is doing so well! I love your approach to just dive in and do it all. She's going to be a solid citizen in no time.

    1. Thank you!!
      My mantra is to treat her like a seasoned horse, but be patient at the same time.

  3. so awesome that getting Annie also means getting to spend more time with riding buddies. it's like the best kind of twofer haha. looks like she's doing super well too! also just an fyi - the second video got blocked by wmg, those jerks...

    1. Heck yes!! THE best twofer lol.

      Hmmm weird. It looks like it is working now!

  4. I'm so happy that Annie is doing so well!