Friday, May 1, 2015

April Re-cap/ May Goals

April was a pretty decent month in the form of pony riding and while I got a lot accomplished, I still feel like I didn't do much. I am pretty pleased with what I did accomplish with both horses - including the items that were not on the list but were quite note-worthy in itself. I've already begun tailoring more specific goals (ie. working on Suzie's halt) rather than giving a broad goal that could be attained through several exercises or instances. It is time to start buckling down a bit more, but at the same time working well within both horse's abilities - which have both changed in light of the recent vet visit. Since the unfortunate fall, the "cost" of it is coming to bite us both in the butt. I still feel wholly responsible and am upset I hurt my mare, but a small rehabilitation as per the Vet's recommendations will do us both good.

For now, May isn't an incredibly busy month. Reflecting back on the Show and Event schedule I made back in January, there is a small schooling show the second week of the month. However, I work both the Friday and Saturday of the three day show and would only be able to participate in the Sunday events. Right now that gives me only two weeks to prepare Suzie and I honestly don't feel prepared at all. Unfortunately, I heard that the Show Committee also cut a large amount of the in-hand classes, so taking Suzie for Showmanship or otherwise is not feasible now. The only class I could really do is the in-hand trail with Spud, but I think he is too old to compete it in now. Ah well, we'll see what happens.

Onto the exciting things:

April Recap- Suzie

  • Start working on a topline and w/t/c. Rhythm and balance, as well as establishing a connection and cadence at all three gaits. We've started and will continue to do so. She seems to have pretty good rhythm right now, but does need to supple up considerably. Incorporating a lot of counter flexion, baby haunches out, and baby shoulder seem to be helping her.

  • Go on an outing (with the trailer).  I tried borrow a friend's trailer but it was being used to store hay. I really need to buy my own trailer... sigh.
  • Showmanship - polish skills with quality work. We actually busted out the SMS skills a few times this month and Suzie has been pretty good although her pivots kind of stink right now. I'm actually pretty impressed with her on this.
  • Veterinary and chiropractic appointments/work ups. Veterinary work up got done  - the chiro had to cancel and reschedule.
  • Trail ride with other horses Bam. We got this one crossed off a little late in the month but I'm almost 100% sure her silliness is gone. We met a friend and her horse halfway to the Fairgrounds for a ride and Suz was just great.
  • Put front shoes on only- see what happens. After much thought I went ahead and had her shod only in the fronts. Other than the unevenness, she is doing great.
  • Start Suz on gastro/ulcer meds with preventative supplements as well as Farriers Formula for her hooves. She is currently on both ulcer support supplements and Farriers Formula. I'll have posts up about this as I get more data/information.

 May Goals - Suzie

  • Work more on suppleness - utilize exercises such as leg yielding, counter-bending, haunches in, shoulder in, etc. Utilize the walk to really warm her up and get her going. Obviously keep in mind her abilities and non-abilities while she is rehabbing.
  • Spins - start to piece together more of a spin within her limitations (save this for the end of the month). Ensure there is forward energy going into the spin and remember to sit tall, engage the core and guide her instead of leaning.
  • Halts - get better halts. Right now she likes to step forward one more liiiiiittttllleeee step when I ask her to stop.
  • Control of the haunches. This kind of ties into the suppleness exercise, but start to get control of her hind end and placing it where needed.
  • Go on an outing if possible.
  • Carrot stretches, belly lifts, and try and book a massage appointment for Suzie.

April Recap - Spud

  • Buy a new, better fitting harness. Pushed back until I get my tax return. I don't really want to dive into my savings at this point.
  • Practice turning - more bend and turning thru the body. We addressed this through some lunging and ground-driving sessions. He's getting better.
  • Work on connection, straightness, and rhythm. Be aware of his sticky moments and push him FORWARDS. We had a few good drives for the month of April and he was well behaved. I am kind of lessening the amount I drive him right now because I want a better harness first.
  • Desensitization and manners - ground drive over tarps, thru scary things, over poles, etc. Also work on having him move his body over when asked. Yes! We did this a few times - he's pretty great about everything, esp when the blinders are on. I did find out he's afraid of being fly-sprayed so we've been working on that a lot. We've also worked quite a bit on his ground manners, which are getting better and better. He does "lock up" on me sometimes though.
  • Take him on an outing and do some fun in-hand stuff. It depends on what one would consider an "outing". I ponied him a few times which was good, but I didn't really take him anywhere new, which is what the plan was.
He still has about 3 inches worth of hair. Curious to see how
fat he actually is.
May Goals - Spud

  • Buy a new, better fitting harness. (It will happen!)
  • Start to shed the pounds: continue to pony him to build up fitness (as well as instill some "ponying manners").
  • Plug away at working on his fear of fly spray and ground manners.
  • Drive him in the arena at the Fairgrounds if the footing is decent enough or the meadow. Instill the morals of connection, straightness and rhythm.
  • Work on his lunging manners.
  • Make sure when working on driving, in-hand, etc to QUIT while I am ahead. Don't ask for more when "more" isn't there.


  1. nice job on your april goals!! bummer about the no-go show this month, but there will be other chances. i love your may goals for Suzie too - and will definitely be trying to focus on many of the same elements!

    1. Thanks!
      And yes, there will be many more shows to go to. It'll be for the best considering Suzie is coming back into light work and I haven't had much time to really prepare either horse.

  2. You had a busy month! And it looks like you have plenty of things to accomplish this month too. And you will do great!

  3. I seriously need a recap on showmanship... I'm directionally challenged and those quarters mess me up ! I've never had a horse I've done in hand classes with but I'm seriously considering adding it along with the riding classes at the local shows, just to make a whole day of it for the horses. Best of luck with your goals, although I'm sure you're going to do great :)

    1. In all honesty, SMS wasn't fun for me until I got Suzie. She absorbs the concept really well and is super fun to run a class with.

      I used to only do SMS/Halter because it was req for high-point, but then I actually started to *gasp* like it!