Monday, March 19, 2012

Introducing the Canter

Faith got the privilege of introducing Lulu to the canter under saddle. I cantered her once under saddle towards the end of her training last year, but that was it. We were working on it on the lunge trying to get her leads, balance, and strength up. I felt like her fitness level was good the last time Faith rode her so I told her if she was comfortable she could try it. She got the wrong lead the first 2 times they tried, but then nailed it every time after that as Faith started helping her with a little extra inside rein. She is running into it a bit, but I thought they did great! Check it out!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break

My kids were out of school this whole week for Spring Break so my week was spent pretty much camped out at the farm everyday, all day. Both the kids and I were completely wiped each day when we got home. Working outside in the ever increasing sun and temperatures was wonderful, but exhausting. Dwight got to ride almost everyday on Jazzy. They are doing well together and seem to be having a good time. I'm happy he is finally getting some ride time. Faith also got plenty of ride time.....riding pretty much everybody else! She was riding anywhere from 3-5 horses a day. She was having a blast and it is actually a lot of fun to see her on something bigger. She looked really good on everything we put her on and did an awesome job. Both the kids were really helpful with farm chores and helping even with lessons. It's amazing how fast they are growing up and becoming so independent.

Here's an idea of what Faith was riding:
Chip - Everything from simple flat work to jumping to trail riding. They had both the good, the bad, and the ugly this week....but still have a great time with each other and love riding together.

Jazzy - Ride her english and keep her forward and consistent. I am allowing her to ride Jazzy independently with little supervision. I want her to start planning her rides on her own, deciding what they will work on and what she wants to accomplish. I can keep an eye on her but am free to work with other horses or teach a lesson. She has done well and Jazzy actually did her first hour lesson for me with one of my students. She did outstanding. Faith has really done a great job with her. My working student for the week McKenzie also rode her and worked her western. Jazzy did well with her as well and is going to be a nice all around horse for lessons and shows.

Lulu - This young horse you may remember from last spring when I had her in training with me. After the owners took over she didn't do anything. The owners wanted to start riding her again but since she hadn't been touched since July (by me) they decided she probably needed to be worked again. My concern was I would put in time and training into the horse again for her only to be ridden once or twice a month. I worked out a deal that I would put in the training and tune up rides for free if they let me use her for lessons. This gives my students another option for a horse to ride and keeps the mare tuned up and in shape. After ground work and lunging and getting her back in shape the week before last I put two rides on her. She did great and remembered her training from last year. I've only ridden her western and trained her as a pleasure mount. The last time I put her rider on her all she wanted to do was follow me and would not do much for the rider. I decided I needed a strong confident rider to take her around. McKenzie got on and rode her western. She loved her and they had an outstanding ride once McKenzie got after her a little and made her leave me. Then I had Faith ride her. I wanted to see what Lulu would do in English and Faith is most comfortable riding English anyways so it was a good fit. I started them in the round pen to make sure all went well. They did great! The next day Faith rode her for about an hour in the arena at walk, trot and introduced trot poles and small cavelletis set at 6 and 8 inches. Faith is going to start riding her regularly for me and work her in the canter and start her over fences. I had one of my students ride her for her lesson at the end of the week and they did great together. Lulu did really well going english and shows promise of being an awesome all around horse. I once again find myself wishing this horse was mine. I am very attached to her and the owners never seem to have the time to commit to her that she needs/deserves.

Billy - Faith got to be a trail guide for students on Tuesday on Billy. She felt super important and got to take Billy over running water that none of remembered he had never done he kept jumping it. She had a blast.

Junie - Heather wanted Faith to try riding Junie for her. She needs an experienced rider to start riding her and working her through her stanky mare moments and start working her into the canter and over fences. She also needs work on her consistency at the trot. Faith absolutely loves riding this mare. She is very forward which is different for Faith and has a lot of movement to her (similar to Johnny). Faith rode her in the arena one day and out in the jump field another day. Heather also wanted Faith to kind of work it out on her own and get a feel for Junie and after their first ride gave her little input. They did great together and Faith was able to help Junie find and hold a rhythm. She also pushed her through all her stanky moments without getting frustrated, just stayed quiet and pretended it never happened. She can also be wiggly and slide all over the place and Faith did great and making her straight, blocking her with her leg. It sometimes amazes me how quiet of a rider she is and how great a feel she has developed. I keep having to remind myself she is only 9. Under saddle she has the poise of someone much older. Heather was so happy with them she has asked Faith to ride her consistently 2 days a week. Faith was tickled.

Marty and Addy - These are our unbroke rescue ponies we took so they wouldn't get put down. They were both 5 time returns and were basically wild. We have done a lot of ground work with them and they are doing well have started introducing saddling, etc... Faith got to be the first passenger (of sorts) on both of them. Faith introduced them to the mounting block going up and down, making noise, bouncing around on one until they stood quietly. She then started laying across them and petting them and once comfortable and quiet we would lead them around with Faith laying on them and petting them. Marty spooked the first time and Faith just slid off and started again. The second time he did great and quietly walked around. Addy did really well while Faith is on but struggles with the sliding off part. It freaks her out a bit, but she got better each time. The next day, Heather's working student Victoria worked with them and my working student McKenzie did another time. They are doing well, it just takes time and consistency.

So that was our exhausting week. On a side note, I got Johnny out on Friday to assess his shoulder and the knot seems to be almost completely gone and is no longer sensitive to touch and press on. He lunged sound and seems eager to go back to work. I'm going to lunge him on Monday and then try to ride him on Tuesday. If he seems like the weight still bothers him then he is back on rest until the following week. I have an appointment to get his teeth floated on Monday so it will be later in the week since he will probably be sore for a day or two after. If he seems sound and fine I will work him lightly the rest of the week and then give a few days off after the float and then hit it hard after that. No matter what since the vet will be out for teeth, I'm going to have them re-check his shoulder while they are there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Chuck got this out of his fortune cookie......ummmm.....lost in translation much?

The Doctor Is In

The vet came out today for shots and coggins on the critters that need it. Chip also got his teeth floated. Johnny still has been struggling with his right front shoulder so I had the doc check that out too. He seems sound when I lunge him but when I go to ride him he throws a giant fit after just a few steps. He is obviously still in pain. I even tried Faith to see how he would do with someone lighter and he still struggled. Frank (our vet) looked at him and said he had some deep tissue damage in the shoulder near the elbow and will need between 4-6 weeks of rest. ARRRGGGG! Just as he was going so well! His new dressage bridle just came in and he looks soooooo good! Before it came in I got my new surcingle that actually fits him and he did great in side reins! I guess he can relax and enjoy his time off and we will have to wait to go back to work. It's disappointing but there is nothing I can do.

Since I had to get Lulu out for the vet anyways, I decided to take her for a spin this morning while it was pretty out. She did great, like she never had any time off. I'm excited to put her back to work. Some may remember her from last year as a free horse given to a family after found tangled in some barbed wire. I trained her for several months and even took her to a show. The family kind of left her in pasture over the winter and didn't do anything with her. They wanted to start riding her again, but of course she hasn't done anything for months and they are super beginners. I made them a deal that I would work with her for free in exchange to get to use her for lessons. I will probably also be showing her again the year or have one of my students show her. I love working with her and am excited to have her back in the program.

Stonegate Show

The team competed last Saturday in the first show of the season at Stonegate Farms. The horses were great, the team did awesome, I was super happy. 

Faith and Chip won High Point English and despite being up against the entire Maryville College Equestrian Team in most of her classes, she still rocked it out and placed well in all her classes. Her equitation was perfect and she got her canter leads....I was so happy. One of my other students, Lora Grace won High Point Youth with her horse Larkin. One of Heather's students brought home High Point Gaited! Yep.....we went in and kicked butt! Not too shabby for the first show of the season. The show ran late and Faith didn't get to do her Jumper class for fun, but hopefully we will get another shot at it.
Everyone getting ready
Looking Pretty
Best Friends!
Lora Grace and Larkin
McKenzie and Payton
McKenzie and Payton In-Hand Trail
Jordan on Sandman
Caitlin on Billy
One of the crazy peacocks that chases us on the farm
One of the can see Faith in there on Chip
Warm Up arena before jumping
Faith and Chip
Katie on Parker
Faith on Chip
Rocking it in her new saddle

Dwight didn't show in this show. He hasn't really had time to practice riding or get ready. He wants to try to be ready for the next show, so he's been riding Jazzy for me the last couple days and they have been doing great together! She looks just as cute going western as she does hunter (she's going to be an awesome all around horse!). They have been practicing walk and jog and look great. I think they will be fine, she seems to like him and he loves riding her.