Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday Clinic a Success

Pattern Demonstration
Our first clinic: Showmanship and Halter/Putting your best hoof/foot forward, was a huge success. It was crowded with 12 students attending, but all the horses were well behaved. We had everyone from experienced to their first time trying it and everyone did well. It was a friendly, supportive atmosphere which is always good to see. Since there were so many students it was hard to cover everything and it ended up lasting an hour and a half. Everyone seemed to have a good time and took a lot away from it to work on at home. I was really impressed with how good even the little ones listened, and quickly they caught on.
Explaining the Pattern

Great Turnout!
We started with Showmanship first and I used a simplified pattern from Congress a few years ago, which was still pretty hard for a newbie, but everyone did really well. I was very impressed. After that we worked on running through a Halter class and how to perfect their performance.
Listening Closely

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pilgrim's Re-education


video

Heather decided Pilgrim needs to appreciate me and my generous and light hands more. His bracing and popping on the bit when he gets tired of working in frame (while has dramatically reduced recently) is still a problem during rides and is causing me to compromise my riding position so I can focus on him. We decided to lunge him side reins so his only option is to relax and go in frame. She tried starting him in stretching frame but he just went around with his nose in the air, so she put him in working frame. After he tried evading the contact by sucking back, running out and blowing up....he finally realized that they don't give (unlike my hands) and his only way out was to just relax. It worked wonderfully. After a few times around each way with him softening and relaxing, we quit. It was nice to see him get it, and it should definitely help when I go to ride him. He has to learn he can't take advantage of me, has to have some kind of bit acceptance, and there has to come a point where every ride is not a fight and we can actually work.
The video at the top is when he understood what we were asking. Below is when he was still trying to figure out how he could avoid it and finally relaxes a little at the end:

video


Hello Pretty Girl

Meet Lotti. She is about 6-7 years old, 14.2-14.3hh and built like a tank. She is in her 3rd day of a 30 day tune up package and for sale by her owners. Someone buy her so I don't have to! I'm kidding, and she will not officially be for sale until her 30 days is up, but she would be awfully cute for a youth rider!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Manic Monday

Super busy today and sweating to death....it was almost 80! I know I wanted warmer weather, but wow that came fast! It's suppose to be warm again tomorrow and then a cold front moves back in for cooler temps. Just when I was getting used to the warm.

Lulu had the morning off since I did a demo ride for her owners this afternoon and then her little girl ride her. She did great and so did Olivia (her kid). We also found out she can be quite the ham for the camera!
Getting groomed and looking good!

Pretty Lulu!

We worked Lotti this morning. It was the start of her 30 day tune up and since she hasn't been worked at all for months we decided to start with some in hand work and lunging with a saddle on. She has a previous bad habit similar to the one I just worked through with Pilgrim which is every time she wants to get out of work she sucks back and jigs while bracing on the bit, which was definitely evident today just on the lunge. Other than that she did well, just needs to lose a few pounds. After her tune up she will be offered for sale so if anyone is interested in a super cute 14.3 hh chubby buckskin mare let us know. I will post pics later this week of her.

Johnny also got back out today and after some lunge work I decided to take him for a spin. Just a walk around the arena with lots of stops, starts and turns, but he didn't attempt to kill me once! WIN!

Pilgrim had the day off to recover from all his hard work, but he is back to work tomorrow.

Faith and Dwight both got to ride today. Dwight has finally found the need for speed....well at least trot, and Billy was more than happy to oblige him! They trotted all over the place. Faith worked some flat and is working on correcting a bad habit she has gotten into with her hands that causes Chip to counter bend all the time. She's getting it, but it will take some time to correct, lots of practice. They also did some jumping. Heather had her work on sitting, instead of posting, trot to the jump. This is for two reasons 1. It gives Faith more control all the way to the jump. 2. To prepare Faith for cantering the jump course.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweat and Farmers Tan

We have been blessed with beautiful weather the last several days. It's been in the 70's and sunny, which of course means riding and teaching as much as possible. It's been crazy busy out at the farm. The kids were gone this weekend, but we still had plenty to do. Of course with all this warm weather it meant breaking out of all those layers and putting a good start to my farmers tan. Unfortunately I tend to have 3 shades: white, whiter and red...so guess what color I am right now! We have now also broke out the Aloe Vera!

My husband and Heathers husband were given lots of boy projects to do. Chuck helped out around the farm while I taught lessons and rode lots of horses. He got tons done, everything from adding padding to our trailer, to seeding the girls pasture, helping clean out water tubs, and adding panels to the round pen to make it bigger, along with about a million other little things!

Heather was still out of town on Thursday so I had my hands full taking care of all the horses, riding Lulu, Pilgrim, and teaching lessons, then rushing home so Dwight could get to Karate and I could do some more Insanity!

Friday I had to drive out and do a follow up check on MayMay. Any horse that gets training with us gets free follow up visits to make sure things are going well at home. She's doing great and we are so happy she has adjusted to being back home. There was a fall the other day, but that was more a dad problem than a MayMay problem as he forgot to tighten the girth all the way! Ahhhh, how easy it is to forget the little things. Hopefully he won't make that mistake again. Luckily everyone is okay and MayMay doesn't seem phased by it, nor does the kid as they were right back to it.

Saturday and Sunday were both filled with lessons and riding. Saturday I was able to ride Pilgrim, afterwards I worked him in Showmanship too. I also worked Jazzy, MC, Junie and CJ in Showmanship as they all needed a tune up. I rode Lulu working on keeping her in that consistent jog and level head set. She learns fast and is doing well. She has also learned to back and I've started teaching her to pivot. I am going to try to put a canter/lope on her this next week and take her out on a trail and see how she does. I also was finally able to get Johnny back out and really work with him. He lunged great and and I saddled him and bridled him and walked him around. He had a few Arabian, "I might have to freak out" moments, but held it together and I was so proud of him. I'm excited to start riding him again. Most importantly, I got my new radio installed in my truck and it's awesome!

Sunday after lessons I rode Pilgrim again. He has become so much better just in this week. He is steady in the bridle finally and is developing self carriage. He is also finally getting some bend around his corners and circles. I've started riding him in spurs along with my dressage whip to really help engage his hind quarters and push him forward. It's made a major difference and and a major improvement. I'm shooting for a May schooling show at Penrose. If he does well I'll take him down to Georgia for a rated show. That's right....I've finally found some confidence in my boy and feel like we are really getting somewhere. I'm not going to get ahead of myself and we will start with Training level tests. I'm going to start working elements of Training Level Test 3 next week. Chuck is getting a new video camera for his birthday and it should get here this week so hopefully we can start posting videos soon of our progress. He keeps taking some with his phone but the quality is so bad we decided to just wait until we could put up some nice ones.

Lulu has signed up for another 30 days of training and Lotti starts tomorrow. I'm wiped and going to bed! STAR benefit tack sale this Friday....will you be there? You know I can't pass up an opportunity to shop!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Awesome Day!

My awesomeness started this morning with Pilgrim. After several days of lunging, hill work and strengthening I decided it was way overdue to get back in the saddle. Thanks to Insanity I am now extremely sore all over and wearing a knee brace, but despite that I hopped in the saddle ready to work. After a sketchy start, where Pilgrim was pretty sure there was a Quarter Horse eating monster was hiding in the woods behind the arena, we were able to really get to work. I made him work through his bit acceptance issues, every time he thought about bracing, small 10 meter circles, lots of leg pushing him forward, closing my fingers....and ta da!!! Back on the bit he went. After a few rounds of this at the walk I asked him to work on 20 meter trot circles. Amazingly he actually had correct bend in the circle and stayed soft and round. I'm so proud! We kept it short, only 20 minutes, but a very valuable 20 minutes.

Several of my students are on spring break, so I had lessons after Pilgrim. One of my students parents informed me they are officially horse shopping! Yeah!!! So exciting! After morning lessons I managed to squeeze in a training ride on Lulu. Major Breakthrough! She actually figured out that when I ask for a jog she doesn't have to trot as fast as she can, she actually went into a jog....and held it! She is also learning that I am not going to ride on her mouth as she apparently has been use to, and has starting settling into a really nice level headset. She is going beautifully on a loose rein and is also finally realized that when I apply leg it doesn't always mean go faster. She is learning so fast and going to make a really nice horse....and only 4 years old too. I need to increase her weight and strength (I'd like to see a bit more shoulder and butt) before I start cantering her under saddle, but I can't wait to see how she progresses.

My afternoon was filled with lessons. I had enough of a break to let Faith ride for a bit as well. Chip and her worked some things out and he finally is picking up his right lead consistently with her! Too slick in the field to jump but they did a little work with cavalleties and had a good ride. All in all, a good day all around!

Grill Masters!

After the day started in clouds, the sun broke through late this afternoon and we were able to enjoy some beautiful weather. The boys decided to break out the grill today to do some steaks and brats. Check out those cool matching aprons! Thanks Grandma!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jazzy Update:


While the Tri-hist seemed to definitely help with the COPD, Jazzy would still suffer from coughing and wheezing fits on bad days. Also, it's a pain to keep on hand. It only lasts between 2-3 weeks and you have to call the vet in order to get more. I love my vet and all but with that many phone calls I better get dinner and a movie soon. The problem is it contains the equivalent of Sudafed which you can no longer get over the counter anymore. I don't think Jazzy plans on making a meth lab out of her pasture anytime soon, but I may have to investigate.

Heather and I were perusing the Co-op, getting horsey treats and grooming blocks for all the critters who started blowing out their winter coats. Heather had gotten lost in the supplement aisle and she called me over all excited. I get over there to find her proudly displaying a product called Ani-Hist. It's made by the company AniMed. I've used their AniPrin before and liked it. While it doesn't contain Sudafed (why we can purchase it at the Co-op), it does have Pyrilamine Maleate, which helps with the allergies and it has Guaifenesin, (kind of like Mucinex for horses) that helps break up the gunk so she can get it out. So basically it's a suppressant and an expectorant all in one. For the price we figured it was worth a shot.

I'm in her second week of being on it and I've seen a major improvement. She is certainly not back to normal, but I've seen reduced coughing, her flared nostrils have gone down to a normal size (which means she's not struggling to breathe as much), and she's showing increased energy. We actually let her participate in a lesson over the weekend doing Showmanship. She was so excited to be out doing things again. I'm definitely impressed so far with what I've seen and am going to keep her on it and see how it goes. It's a 40 day supply and I can get it online for only $17! A steal if it helps! Everyone cross your fingers for this pretty girl! I've liked this product so much I may switch Pilgrim's current joint supplement to AniFlex. I'll let you know if I do and what I think.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Insanity!

I started back on my diet a few weeks ago, but knew I would need to add in the dreaded exercise soon. I was hoping that increasing my riding would help me drop those hateful winter pounds before show season kicks off, but after 2 lbs. dropped off the first week, I stalled out.

This is pretty typical for me. Last year when I wasn't losing with the diet I decided to hit the gym, working out 4 days a week, to no avail. Chuck and I both struggled to kick any excess pounds so we decided to something a little crazy and extreme and we bought the Insanity Workout Program. It kicked our butts! We were sore for the first 2 weeks and it's the only workout I've done that I've had to wear a heart monitor to stay safe during....but I lost around 20 lbs in 6 weeks. It's really hard, it's 6 days a week, but it works...and fast.

So I decided today that I would jump back into Insanity again. I got through the warm up great, but after almost throwing up twice during my day 1 fitness test - I wondered if I might be insane for doing this again, but once again as soon as I was done I could start feeling the difference in my body. I went from stiff to more flexible and already feeling stronger...and a little sore.

Look out...I'll be hot and sexy in no time! Well, I'll at least be thin! =)

A Good View


Despite the rain, I braved the weather to work Lulu this morning...you know because I'm dedicated and stuff. She was trying really hard today and we are working on consistency in her gaits. She thought a bunny might eat her at one point, it was the first time she's ever spooked over anything, but all in all a very good day even with the weather. I just love the view from up there, don't you?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Upcoming Events

For those of you interested in my crazy, busy schedule....here is a list of some of our upcoming events:

March 28th - 5:30-6:30pm        Showmanship/Halter Clinic (Putting Your Best Foot/Hoof Forward)  
April 4th - 5:30-6:30pm             Rail Work (Standing Out In The Group) (open to all disciplines)                    
April 10th - 2:00-4:00pm           Show Team Practice
April 11th - 5:30-7:00pm          Training Clinic - Creating Ground Manners and Lunging Demystified
April 16th - 4:30-6:30pm          Show Team Parents Handling and Show Prep Class
April 23rd - All Day                  Rarity Bay Open Horse Show
April 30th - All Day                  Tri County 4-H Show

Some days are perfect!

What an awesome Saturday...although my sore body may argue otherwise. After teaching multiple lessons, riding 4 horses, ground working 2, and lunging Pilgrim, I think my body may start to revolt.

Dwight participated in his first Karate tournament and took 3rd place in his division! Great job Dwight! I had lessons starting at 8:30am so I unfortunately missed the tournament, but Chuck took tons of pictures for me, Faith helped cheer him on, and Dwight was proud to show off his medal.
Dwight receiving his 3rd place medal

Dwight sparring








Dwight sparring
Dwight and some pals









Faith and Dwight

After the tournament Chuck and the kids came by the farm. Chuck wanted to work on adding some additional padding to the inside of the trailer for me. Such a sweet horsey husband! Faith came in handy as I had her help me with Lulu. Her primary rider will be a 6 year old little girl. She's been taking lessons on Chip while I have Lulu in training, but I would like for her to at least be able to walk around on Lulu at her next lesson. So today after I rode the Lu of the Lu, I threw Faith up on her. Heather and I led them around the arena, then out in the field. After everyone was comfortable we let Faith take over in the round pen. Lulu seems to understand it's her job to take care of the kid and was very quiet and careful. The more I work with this horse the more I like her! Faith was so excited to get to help, listened very well and stayed quiet and patient in the saddle, and of course couldn't stop talking about it later!
Faith helping with Lulu
Future generation of horse trainers!









Hmmm....she looks awfully cute in Western....=)

Chip, having had several lessons, was fairly tired by the time Faith had a chance to visit with him. She wanted to ride but knew he'd had a long day so they decided to just go for a fun bareback walk....but of course they stopped to pose for some pictures!
They are both camera hams!
Don't ask me how she did this without falling off! But Chip obviously doesn't seem to care much. On a side note, you can't see, but her helmet was removed for this pic only per Faith's request (aka several minutes of begging) then immediately placed back on her head and there is someone within arms reach in front of Chip for safety. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drawing the line

Spring has sprung...if you ignore the last few days of rain mixed with snow mixed with cold. But the outlook is sunny and warm for a whole week and I can't wait!

With spring comes warmer weather, sunny skies, flowers blooming, and ..... well the girls start to smell really nice! Pilgrim and CJ both used to be stallions and were live bred, so the girls smell real pretty. They started playing rough, then picking at each other, and finally fighting. So with both of them competing this year we couldn't have them looking like they just came out of a war. We had to draw the line....or at least run a fence. Their pasture is now divided. They can spend days together when we can watch them but are being split up at night. Bad Boys!

On a side note, Lulu's training is going great and I'm letting her little girl ride her on Monday. She will be with us for at least another 30 days and we have a new horse Lotti starting training next week for a 30 day tune up. We also have several clinics and shows starting up!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Trailer! Finally, the search is over!

So I promised I would get some photos of the trailer posted. Unfortunately where it is parked at the farm made it hard to take good ones. The sun was shining in all the wrong places, but at least you get the idea.
Full size escape door on left side of trailer

Dressing room and another escape door on right side









Open doors


Inside Dressing/tack room










Inside  Dressing/tack room






Inside trailer













Ignore the "Naughty Cowgirl" sticker and all the barrel racing silhouettes all over the thing. We will be scraping those off and putting up AQHA stickers, Dressage, Hunter Jumper, and Western Pleasure silhouettes all over it, along with tons of Silver Stirrups Show Team stickers!

Speaking of show team, we currently have 18 signed up! It's going to be a busy season, but our most successful yet!

Straight A's

Faith received straight A's on her progress report! At the end of the month she will get her report card. Hopefully she can keep it up! We are so very proud of her.

And not to be left out, Dwight will be receiving an Academic Achievement Patch in Karate due to his good grades as well!

Go kids!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Crazy Week

It's been busy all week, full of lessons and training. Yesterday we also went to evaluate a new horse for training. We agreed to take it and it will be moving to the farm in April. Lulu is coming along nicely in training and I have been riding her regularly. She neck reins nicely and is becoming more and more responsive. I am going to take her out on trail next week and see how she does. We have another horse starting training next week, Lotti. I managed to get a few rides in on Pilgrim and worked some bending and flexing with him on the ground hoping to help him soften and loosen.  Faith has been working on her jumping with Chip and also started working on Intro Test C again. She wants to try to do the River Glen Schooling Show, but it's only a few weeks away and I'm not sure if she'll be ready. We're going to keep working at it and practicing and wait until closer to the closing date of registration to decide.

The best news of all is we finally found a trailer! I will post pictures soon. It's an older model, fully enclosed Turnbow 2 horse trailer with a dressing room and two full size escape doors. We are really happy with it and I can finally stop stressing about it!

Today after lessons we had a wedding to attend. Once of the girls that rides with us was getting married and we were invited! It was a lovely ceremony and she cried the whole time. We wish them a happy and long life together.

After the wedding we picked up Faith's friend who I promised could spend the night with us this weekend. While Faith has spent many nights away at other friends' houses, this was her first sleepover here. She is very excited and based on all the giggling coming from her room, they seem to be having a good time.

Hopefully the rain will go away soon....I have so much to do!