Saturday, September 30, 2017

Back in the Sandbox & Header Contest!

(Thank you everyone who commented on my Ty post. It has been incredibly hard to see him unable to do the things he loves. Ironically enough, he has been feeling pretty good the last week so he has been able to resume regular walks. We will continue to keep an eye on him and if readers would like, I'll keep updating and sharing photos of him :) ).

The well-needed break from the arena came to an end Thursday evening - I messaged another person who boards their horse in the area and asked if she wanted to join me. We agreed to meet up after I was done work and unfortunately, by the time I got out to tack up Annie R was already waiting for me at the end of the driveway since work had run a bit longer than anticipated. It wasn't a huge deal, so I went and got tacked up.

Post-ride and we were soaked!
Annie was pretty looky when I pulled her out - she could hear Colby's footfalls on the asphalt down the driveway - but didn't do much other than dance a bit when tied. I tacked up in lightening speed, hopped on and set off.

Annie was pretty excited and walked quite fast but stopped dead in her tracks when she was Colby. It was a little funny.

"Wait... what... where did you come from?" -Annie
Unfortunately, mare had only one pace on the walk to the arena - FAST. She didn't try to trot or anything, but just was marching away. Colby, being an older QH, was very slow and nonchalant about the proposed excursion. I kept asking her to slow down and when we ended up getting too far ahead I would halt her and wait for Colby to catch up. I was pretty pleased with Annie, mostly because I hadn't ridden her in a week and we were out with a "new" horse (we've ridden with R and Colby once before) and she was responding well to my slow down/halt requests (aside from a few times where she rooted and pulled against me), AND she didn't come into heat, so that's a win!

When we made it to the arena, it started to rain pretty good, but I figured a good school wouldn't hurt anything. The sand was a bit wet and mushy, but not enough to suck Annie's hooves in or cause any issues. I had to dismount to get into the ring and when we got in there, a makeshift jump out of a piece of wood and tires spooked Annie. We wandered over and she blew hard at it before realizing it was a inanimate object and it was certainly not going to kill her.

Aside from being very forward and kind of running on her forehand, she did really, really well. It took me a few laps to re-establish a slower but more harmonic trot and once we had that, she was responding quite well. Our turning cues have suffered a bit tho - she feels kind of rusty moving off my leg and bending and doing all the things. I didn't really push it - we haven't schooled at all since September 3 and mare has lost a lot of muscle tone/fitness. She's a young lady who hasn't even been undersaddle a year, so I cut her a lot of slack and just made bigger circles or kept asking her to move off the leg. As we get back into the swing of things, I'll start demanding more perfection, but for now it isn't worth a fight and so long as the effort is there, I reward it.

Bending, balance and rhythm? Thanks but no thanks.
We didn't do too much in the ring aside from trying to play around with our leads again - she had a difficult time obtaining her right lead like usual and in true Annie fashion she pitched a bit of a fit when I kept bringing her back down to trot. She was starting to get flustered and frustrated and felt kind of like a dolphin trying to break through a set of waves - complete with one buck that received a no-no spank. She wasn't bad persay - just fresh and anticipating what I wanted from her.

I rode it out tho and just laughed, continuing to ask her to just trot forward while she bounced beneath me. I abandoned the idea of getting a canter for a bit and just rode figures and serpentines all around the arena. Her brain firmly planted back into her skull and when I asked again and she got the lead just fine.

I finished the ride in the ring by patting her for getting the right lead after her brain explosion and went back to do a few more trotting figures. I have been trying to train my brain to finish the schooling session on another gait like walk or trot, as opposed to the canter (which I typically save for the end portion). After that, we walked down to the other side of the arena where Colby and R were riding and I decided to pop Annie over a haphazardly designed jump someone else must have set up. It was a large 2x10 chunk of wood sitting on two tires. The chunk of wood was pretty small, so it made the jump more of a skinny than a regular vertical, so I wasn't sure how Annie would take it. We trotted over it in both directions and Annie popped over like it was a total non-event.

On the hack home, I was videoing her
sans reins and she evidently came to a screeching
halt to grab some green lol.
All things considered, I'm pretty happy for our "first ride" back in the ring. She didn't suck towards Colby, didn't argue with anything (well, aside from being COMPLETELY CERTAIN WE SHOULD BE CANTERING MORE), and felt like she was a pretty broke horse. The last time she had a good portion of time off, it was like I was riding a wet noodle, so it's kind of cool to see she is retaining all of her training and muscle memory.

The hack back home was uneventful - she plodded along on a loose rein and we even did some long-rein trotting on the shoulder of the road where there is sand and she obliged back to a walk when we rounded the corner for home.

By the end of it, both of us were completely soaked from the rain, but I felt really content and happy with her performance. Sometimes it isn't about getting that damned right lead, and sometimes you have little blips of progress, but the overall picture is shaping up to be something I am so excited for.


Sidenote, please do not forget about the contest I am holding for a blogger header! I have received a few entries, but do know quite a few people were trying to get some in. I am going to extend the contest by a few more weeks just to see if I can get a few more to trickle in. The final deadline will be: OCTOBER 21st!

Remember - there is a fully customized bonnet for the winner from If The Bonnet Fits!

And, for those who may not be totally crafty at Photoshop or other programs, SHARE the original contest post for your chance to win a bridle charm from Beka!