Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dissecting the Baby Ride

Hopefully ya’ll got a good laugh out of our flail photos yesterday! :) Going for honesty here, and to be honest, not all the parts of our rides are pretty! But lucky for me, most of it was decent, so here, enjoy more photos, haha.
That hind leg tho.... *sigh*
Cinna tacked up like a champ, and didn’t bat an eyelash when DH drove the tractor by (he’d been dragging the arena) -- very proud of how far she’s come about “spooky” things. Six months ago, a running tractor within 10 feet of her would have sent her into the stratosphere. After we tacked up, I lunged her for a minute -- it was very humid and she’s not in shape, so I only spent a few minutes each way so I didn’t completely tire her out. She was a little dancy at the mounting block again, so I just waited her out and kept walking her back to it, and eventually she stood long enough for me to get one. She immediately wanted to back up, so I made her stop and hang out for a second. I feel like we need a lot of work at just standing still -- both in hand (as evidenced by the horse show) and under saddle. She needs to learn that sometimes, doing nothing is okay. 
She’s getting mostly okay with DH sitting in the corner in his scary plastic chair of death (hardy har har), but Monday night my mom was over there, as well as her mini Aussie Tyrion. Cinna doesn’t mind dogs if they are sitting still (although she did go after poor Tyrion on the lunge line when he made the mistake of crossing her circle), but she did not want anything to do with the corner when mom and Tyrion were over there, so we worked down there at the walk until she was able to relax and ignore them. 
Giving the chair of death the stink eye.
Something I was working on without necessarily being conscious of doing it, was just sitting quietly and letting her figure things out (this is probably a recurring theme in my rides with her, but sorry ya’ll, you can hear it again). One of the posts I read yesterday from A Enter Spooking was talking about a clinic she audited and one of her takeaways was that you have to be able to ride neutrally before you can make positive changes to the horse. I’m going to go ahead and assume that the rider she was watching at the clinic was probably 213420984x more talented than me (as is the author of that particular blog) but I feel like that concept really captures what I’m trying to do with Cinna right now -- it remains to be seen if I can make positive changes to her in the future, but here’s hoping kids! 
Letting her do her thing.
Monday I focused on keeping myself neutral, hands low, seat quiet, legs lightly on but not nagging, etc. I feel like this came in handy during our big “launch”, and even though she was able to unseat me a little, I was balanced enough to not eat sand (don’t ask me how, I really thought I was coming off), and then immediately pick back up where we had been before the explosion. 
Just in case you forgot, new explosion photos.... haha.
But we also had moments like this :)
While obviously there were plenty of baby shenanigans, there were also quite a few moments where I thought “wow, she feels great!” Very soft, with me, listening, even moments of slight lateral work back to the rail when she’d come off. Right now she’s very much in love with the rail, because it makes her feel secure -- I did attempt a few centerlines (mostly to convince myself it would be a bad idea to enter the dressage show in 3 weeks -- *hint* I was correct) and those were fairly disastrous... Like turning her entire head and neck in while her body continue to travel along the rail disastrous, so clearly we have things to start focusing on! 
Once we actually made the turn, they weren't terrible....
Now that I’m a little less worried about the “she’s gonna spook and I’m gonna die” aspect, I feel like we can start on some actual work. For those wondering what precipitated those really fun flail photos from yesterday? I asked her for the right lead canter, and she completely ignored my aids. I asked a little “louder”, and she just kept toodling along at the trot. I flicked my whip into my boot (always my first go to) and she woke up a little, but still content to just trot along. So I lightly tapped her with the whip -- that did the trick! Of course after the explosion was over, I asked again for the canter and she was great. She wasn’t scared of the whip, just expressing her royal highnesses displeasure at actually being, you know, tapped with it. Baby horses can be so dramatic... haha. 
Much drama.
I commented earlier this week on a goal post that I’m never motivated enough to write out goals, so I’m going to try it. Goals for Cinna for September (since the weather should start cooling down) 
  • Work on standing still for mounting 
  • Work on walk/halt transition -- no more flinging her head around 
  • Work on straight centerlines 
  • More handwalking (and then walking under saddle) on the trail 
  • Get her out to another fun show to tie to the trailer (bonus points if I attempt halter again)
That’s probably way too many goals, but I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person, haha. If I manage 50% of those, I’ll be thrilled!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Baby Bucks - A Brief Pictorial

OK so Monday was a long and exhausting day, so this will be a brief (mostly pictorial!) and I will write a much more in-depth post with more photos later this week. Ruby's leg is definitely heading in the right direction, so yay there. Cold hosing and hand walking her left me with some free time, and since it was dry and I had witnesses... errr.... my mom and DH.... I decided to ride Cinna. That makes like... ride 7 maybe? IDK. I kind of lost count. So it started off well:
And then this happened:
The moment where I thought I would be eating sand.

And then we went right back to nice and ended well:
Literally the subsequent photo after the previous one haha.
I do love her, even if she's a shit.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekend Update

Trying really hard to make Monday updates a thing! I’m writing this completely on my phone so forgive any spelling/formatting issues. I did manage to squeeze in a ride on Ruby Friday night, but she was being an idiot at a creek crossing and managed to puncture her LH on either a sharp rock or a tree branch. I didn’t notice at the time because she was her usual forward, sassy self for the rest of the ride, but I *did* notice that she was super off when I went into the arena after the ride so we could do some schooling.... *whomp whomp* I scrubbed her leg really well with betadine and discussed some treatment options with the barn manager. I’m really glad she was there when I first found it and got to examine it, that way we could tag team the treatment and make sure it didn’t get ugly.
Saturday morning she had a little swelling when she came in from turnout, but when I got to the barn in the evening to do chores her leg was huge and warm.... ughhhhhhh. After cleaning and cold hosing, it looked a lot better -- the puncture was closing up quickly, and staying clean, but still very annoying. Cold hosing must be a level in Purgatory, I swear. Luckily Ruby DGAF about anything and will stand in the washrack quietly all day, which let me just park my butt on a bucket and chat with one of the new boarders most of the time.
Saturday we also unloaded another 100 bales of hay, so the hay shed is about ready for winter! DH and I have had such a ridiculous number of horses for so long (at one point it was 8) that we continually overestimate how much hay we will need, but I’d rather have too much than too little. It wasn’t too terribly hot Saturday (mid-80s) but the humidity was ridiculous so while I wanted to squeeze in a workout with Cinna, it didn’t happen. We did make progress in another area of our relationship though! Aside from when she was a baby, she hasn’t let me come near her when she is laying down. She sacks out in her stall and pasture on a regular basis, but anytime I come near her she jumps back up again. Saturday she let me come in her stall TWICE while she was down, and let me sit on her back in exchange for some ear scritches and general loving. So I feel like we’re making progress in our overall relationship, even if I’m not getting to ride her as much as I want.
Sunday was DH’s last day off before his next online class starts, and the classes this fall are back to back, so he won’t have a break until December when we head to Puerto Rico -- ask me how much fun he’s going to be to live with for the next 3.5 months..... ugh. We had a nice lunch out while we took care of some errands, then went out to the barn so I could doctor Ruby and he could doctor his metal sculpture (we moved it out to the barn last weekend but unfortunately Friday it took a tumble off it’s pedestal and needed some repairs). I conned him into splitting cold hosing duty with me, so that made the time go a little faster. We had an early dinner and mini-marathon of Torchwood while snuggling dachshunds, which is my favorite way to spend a Sunday night.
Barn manager said Ruby’s leg was much improved this morning, so hopefully she is back to 100% ASAP because I really need to crack down and start working if I want to show in a few weeks!
Because my barn cats are awfully cute.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Playing Catch-up

I wish that saying this week had been manic was unusual, but honestly my life is pretty manic on a regular basis -- I guess I should just get used to it?
This made me giggle on my commute home. I probably should have blurred out the license plate, but I'm too tired.
Monday and Tuesday nights were both a wash as far as horse things (which I kind of mentioned in my brief Wednesday post). Wednesday night I did manage to sneak out to the barn to give Ruby a brief lunge. It was humid and miserable, and she was fairly unhappy. Don't get me wrong, still fairly obedient, but pretty irritated in general. I did learn a fun thing -- apparently the secret to trot lengthenings is a horsefly on her butt ;) haha. I'm not saying it was a particularly nice trot lengthening, but hey, beggars can't be choosers!
Thursday was similarly muggy, but I needed to work the baby horse. I didn't want to use the arena, because rain was in the forecast (DH likes to drag the arena before rain, and since he is in charge of arena maintenance, I try not argue with him -- his way is working so far, so until it stops, he can be the boss). I was uncertain of my ability to A. start the antique Ford 8N he uses to drag the arena and B. my ability to not hit the fence with the rake while dragging, so I opted for working outside of the arena.
"Work? What is this work you speak of?"
As the Sunday show highlighted, Cinna is very herd-bound. Honestly there isn't really a good way to prevent this considering I have three horses at the house and they live together. So I decided she just needs to work on being separated from the boys for increasing amounts of time. Wednesday and Thursday night I left her in the stall after dinner for several hours while they went to turnout (we're on a night turnout/daylight stalled schedule right now). Wednesday she was very agitated about this, but by Thursday she was more chill.
Unrelated photos, but people who misuse apostrophes should be throat punched. Our Walmart is particularly bad about this.
Thursday was also a big night in baby horse world as we decided to explore more of our property, including the trail. First we walked back to the fence of the back pasture -- this walk was immediately interrupted by a flight of turkeys, and after a fairly spectacular baby temper tantrum, I added a stud chain to our tack. I looped it through the noseband so it wasn't quite as harsh, and carried on -- I had her normal lead rope in my left hand, and the stud chain lead in my right, which allowed me to lead her like normal as long as she was behaving, but apply correction if she was naughty. After the first few corrections, she was markedly better. I really don't particularly care for using the stud chain on a regular basis, but she knows exactly how big she is and how to appropriately use her weight to make my life difficult. This is the part that sucks about training very smart horses! And of course, most of this stems from my lack of working with her as a foal/weanling/young horse, so 100% my fault, and I'm the one who needs to deal with her shenanigans. Even if that means being the tether for 1000+ lbs of baby horse kite.
Those turkeys were obviously untrustworthy and sketchy AF.
After adding the stud chain to the mix, she walked nicely out to the back fence, and we hung out grazing for a bit. Then we meandered back to the barn, and I decided we would try to loop through the other section of the trail. We own an abandoned church in a separate fenced lot adjacent to our property, and there are a few ways to get there. One is a grassy lane between our front paddock (5 strand electric fence) and the front property line (3 strands of barbed wire). I didn't really want to deal with a possible meltdown in that small of a space (at it's narrowest it is about 5 feet, but mostly it's about 10 feet), so I opted to walked down to the road. Our gravel road is fairly well traveled, but I only had to make it like 150 feet -- I timed it pretty well, but of course when I was about 10 feet from where I planned to cross, a car came around the corner behind me. I was able to get her across the small ditch without any issues, and she was more obsessed with glaring at the church than the car -- I honestly don't think she noticed it at all. So, progress? The neighbor on the other side of the church has goats and cows (and possibly some sheep?) but thankfully none of them were in the field next to us. We made it unscathed back to the beginning of our woods trail, and made it about 100 feet in before I decided to stop her and end on a good note. We headed back to the barn, had a nice hose off, and then she hung out in her stall for an hour or two after I turned the boys out.
We went in the woods and no one died! Hooray!
Pending the weather forecast this weekend (they're calling for more rain, of course), there are more fun shows I'd like to get her out to for some more halter practice (or maybe just trailer-tying, hanging out practice!). At this point I don't trust her to tie to the trailer unattended, so the only way she can come with me to some dressage shows this fall will be if I have a friend accompany me whose sole job is to babysit her -- any takers? Didn't think so.... lol. Oh well. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough for me to get out to the shows and get some more fun media (because all these cell phone shots suck), and hopefully I can also squeeze in another ride on Ruby tonight!
What she thought about Thursday's events, haha.
"You're going to let me out with my friends eventually, right?!"
Fun sky on my way home from the barn Thursday night! Shortly before it rained.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Future ROOTD

Too much going on (and unfortunately none of it horse-related) to write a new post, so enjoy some photos!

For anyone who read last week's post about my situation trying to get some tack shipped out to me, it finally arrived on Monday!

So here are some options for a future #ROOTD post!
Kastel sunshirt or Lady Hagen polo, so this works for pretty much every season but winter!
All of the matchy matchy things make my heart so happy 😍