|Trying to get cute pictures but she looks dejected and abused instead.|
As the season has started to wind down, I had been lowering the intensity and frequency of our rides, which seemed to be working out well enough but then I realized something...
I realized that pretty damn soon snow is going to hit and Annie will be off until the white powder melts and the arena is useable once more.
So - as long as the sun is shining and the footing is good, we will continue pursuing a ring-riding education for Annie and plugging along on the trail like we have been. The pressure of showing is off the table, which makes it a bit easier in regards to schooling more effectively. I'm not worried about making a deadline or being able to execute x, y, z appropriately. I just school as it comes and suss out the details we need to suss out without worrying about x, y, or z. And that's kinda nice in a way.
|So we're gonna keep doing this as long as we can!!|
Recently we've been kinda dealing with old devils - Annie has come out a bit fresh (cold weather) and we've had to revisit the whole "no you cannot just throw your head in the air, grab the bit and jig down the driveway". If long-time readers remember, I had been using treats to get her used to the idea that "the longer we stand, the more treats you get". And it worked out very well and I was even able to ditch the treats... until the weather got cooler.
I'm not hugely interested in using treats to teach my horses to stand or to behave - this is moreso because I didn't grow up around horses using them in any kind of scenario besides the occasional cookie for being a good pony after a ride. It's kind of embarrassing to me in a way, but at the same time, if it works why not use it to my advantage and continue to work towards eradicating it from our program. As a friend of mine has said, Annie has trained me, haha. Which, might be true I guess but it has helped and as such, I've readded it into our program for the last few rides to remind her.
|Spud is always mean-muggin for treats.|
So, we just keep plugging along. Refining the canter and getting Annie to be more forward and honest to the leg. The last few weeks I had noticed she started to revert back to old habits on me, but the school in the Dressage saddle was pretty good. We did a lot of walk-trot work to get her a bit more honest to my leg. And we also worked on TOH, TOF, and backing. She likes to back crooked, so we did some work on that and even pushed a few halt-trots out of her.
She felt good, but is still quite inconsistent in the bridle. It's frustrating, but I know it's something that will get better once I ride her in both reins vs just the outside rein (blog post on that coming!). It's so damn hard - this whole riding thing sometimes haha.
|The irony in this picture was not lost on me. I ended up turning|
Annie around to back-track to get this photo.
The only thing that went "wrong" I suppose was when I went to catch Spud - I left him loose in the arena during our school as it serves as a good distraction for Annie. The naughty little mini had managed to grab my hoodie and gummed on my pockets (which had treats in them). I hadn't noticed, because I was concentrating on riding, haha. I shooed him away from the hoodie, went and tied Annie and didn't realize the gate was verrrrry slightly open.
You can see where this is going.
Yup. Spud was deeply offended I shooed him away from the treat bearing hoodie and took one took at me, went off galloping towards Annie, slowed to a trot and exited stage right.
|Going... going.... gone.|
Overall, it was a good ride and I was happy with her try. It can be hard tho, to settle for what you get sometimes without looking over at the "greener" side of other people's training programs with their own horses. I just have to keep reminding myself of how far we've come and I think a lot of our issues are due to the fact Annie was started so late - and not just started late, but handled late as well. We're kinda floating around in 4 year old territory, despite the fact she's 6 - which is something a few clinicians have told me.
And speaking of clinicians, Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian), Annie and I took a lesson with Anthony. Because of the holiday and making dinner with my Grandma, I wasn't able to attend all three days of the clinic but took advantage of one lesson just to see how we've progressed since we last saw Anthony (in June).
|A nice Fall hack - much stretching was had.|
I figured it would be a nice day for a hack, and I wasn't wrong. But holy cow the subdivision was just a-buzzing with activity. We had a few large vaccuum trucks pass us, one semi hauling a 30' flat deck, and another semi (body only) that utilized it's air brakes as we passed. The horses weren't concerned and I was glad they don't care about traffic, esp as I hollered a few times at the dogs to join me on the side of the ditch while we waited for them to pass. At one point, we had to stand and wait for the semi and flat deck to turn the corner, as he needed to swing wide across the road.
It was a nice 5k ride and I took advantage of some traffic cones laying out on the road to have both Annie and Spud walk between them. Annie hesitated the first time we went through (heading out to the trail) but went quietly and hilariously enough, the second time we went through (heading home) she completely froze and snorted before cautiously stepping through. I had to laugh. Seriously mare, we literally just went through them earlier in the ride!!
|Not like we literally just walked through it 30min ago or anything.|
|"Oh OK, I'll just stroll thru but I'll snort the entire time."|